Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Dam Break unleashes Wall of Water in Richmond, VT

Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008 by 1 comment

A posting today from Gary to his neighbors in the FPF Richmond East Neighborhood Forum…

Friday night around 7pm, I was at the junction of the Huntington Winooski Rivers, just playing in the water with my kids. All of the sudden, 4 people were on the Cochran Road bridge yelling and screaming at us frantically. We couldn’t really hear exactly what they were saying. A fisherman was nearby us.

All of the sudden the water, which was at our ankles all the way across, started rushing and getting deeper. In a matter of seconds it was a fierce and fast river with large logs floating by. It was surreal — I felt like I was in a movie and the “great flood” was beginning.

Luckily we were near the shore when it happened and we got out just in time or we would have been in serious trouble. The fisherman was a different story. I watched him try to get to the shore. The water level kept rising and soon it was up to his neck. I think he lost his pole and everything and was just trying to get to the shore. I was really worried and thinking what I would do if he went under. Finally he made it to the other side of the winooski, by the railroad tracks, and waved to us that he was OK.

Still, we were stuck on the wrong side of the Huntington, with all our stuff (and the path home) inaccessible. We waited about a half hour but it never let up. We had to forge a way to the Jonesville bridge and walk all the way around back to where our stuff was. On the way we saw a police officer who was responding to a call about the distressed fisherman. She told us that a dam had broke somewhere upstream. It must have been a big dam because even an hour after it hit, the water was still rushing and very high.

I never saw anything like this. I hope everyone upstream was OK. Does anyone know what happened? Where is the dam that broke? Where is all this water coming from?

UPDATE: A follow up posted by Tim today…

Gary – First of all, it’s great news to hear you and your family got away from the river safely the other night.  We heard the firetrucks and police go down toward the Jonesville Store and heard on the scanner that they were looking for the fisherman.  They thought they saw him get to the side safely but didn’t see him again so they had to keep looking.  Apparently he’d made his way up to his vehicle by Wes White Hill Road and they saw him there.  They were also talking about a big beaver dam having given away and the debris and water came rushing down the Huntington River.  We happened to be coming back from Richmond, down Cochran Road, about an hour later and we also noticed how brown the water still was.  Very scary stuff.  At least everyone is safe.

Posted in: Citizen Journalism, Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Neighborhood, Social Networking, Stories, Vermont

One comment

  1. emanuel betz says:

    I’m guessing the dam in question is the one about a half mile below the intersection of the the Huntington Rd and the App. Gap road (17?)
    I have biked past this huge area created by beavers, one of the biggest I have ever seen, and have marveled for years at what they had created. It was on the right just before the Buel’s Gore/ Starksboro town line sign. Glad all is okay. I imagine if you looked down there, the massive lodge might still be in place….

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