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Neighbors help Thurman residents stranded by washouts

THURMAN-Local residents walked through raging knee-deep waters in road washouts Sunday May 29 to deliver groceries to stranded neighbors while others hiked into homes isolated by floodwaters to check on the infirm and elderly - as dozens of highway employees worked around the clock to restore roads.

The washouts on virtually every road in town, along with destroyed bridges prompted town Supervisor Evelyn Wood to declare a State of Emergency Saturday afternoon.

The roadways suffered destruction due to Saturday's heavy rains - up to 4 inches in only three hours - that tore out culverts, ripped up roadways, and turned many of them into raging rivers, county Public Works Superintendent Jeff Tennyson said.

"It's incredible that no cars plunged off the pavement into the major canyons that were carrying torrents of water," he said, noting that the fast response of the Thurman firefighters in blocking off roads, and the fact that it happened during daylight hours, avoiding deaths from occurring.

Warren County Emergency Services Director Brian LaFlure said Sunday that about 100 highway workers from towns across the Warren County were deployed where needed in the county - many of them in Thurman - to haul gravel and help make temporary repairs. He said the aim was to get at least one lane of washed-out roadways reopened, so stranded citizens can get food and medicine -- and allow access, if needed, by emergency vehicles.

LaFlure said a number of private road-building contractors were called in to help make the repairs, and that Peckham Materials in Chestertown opened their plant over the weekend so they could provide gravel and stone as needed.

"Our entire force is out -- we have every man available at work repairing the damage," he said.

The Don Potter Bridge and the Combs Road Bridge were both washed away, and total road washouts were scattered through town.

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