Floods were ‘almost worse than 2007’ claim residents

The river Dove at Wombwell overflowing towards the Pit Pond
The river Dove at Wombwell overflowing towards the Pit Pond

THE sheer force of flood water from the River Dove at Wombwell knocked a man off his feet and almost sucked him under a shed, it has been claimed.

The incident involved a 56-year old man who had been sandbagging with others at the ‘dogleg’ on the River Dove.

Flood warden Pete Bradshaw said the man was walking home with him on Friday evening when the rush of water came.

“There was a series of loud pops like huge champagne corks as concrete panels went down at the first house,” said Mr Bradshaw, of Stonyford Road.

“Luckily his son caught him before he was sucked under, but the water followed us. There’s thousands of pounds worth of damage to outbuildings and gardens.

“We recorded the river level and it was almost a metre higher than when it flooded in 2007,” he added. “The measures taken are not enough and this proves it!”

A public meeting has been called for Monday evening at St Michael’s RC School. Mr Bradshaw has slammed Barnsley Council for not acting as yet again, residents feared for their property. He said: “Five years on we had one warning from the Environment Agency. We had no sandbags until 8pm on Friday. One 76-year old who’s had a double heart bypass was sandbagging all Friday but we saw no-one from the council.”

A council spokesman said a meeting would take place this week to analyse flood responses. He said the council had deployed services to as many sites as possible.

Several people were rescued by fire crews and boats when floods crept up Station Road at Wombwell.

And relentless rain coupled with flash floods across the Dearne led to other rescues and road closures.

Fifty-two residents of Epworth House Care Centre on Park Road, Thurnscoe, all aged 60 to 97, were evacuated over four hours on Friday, as water flooded in from High Street. Full emergency services helped transfer residents to other homes, where they stayed until Monday.

Operations director Paul Buck said: “Residents saw it all as a bit of an adventure. Barnsley Council supplied mini-buses for extra transport.”

The Care Centre last flooded in June 2007. This time only carpeting and a sofa in the reception area will need to be replaced. Other parts of the Dearne to suffer flash floods included Doncaster Road at Goldthorpe, and Riverside Gardens at Bolton, where sandbags were issued. Council officers along with the police, Berneslai Homes and South Yorkshire fire service worked throughout Friday to Saturday to close roads, help with evacuations and monitor danger.

At Darfield, in the Church View area that suffered greatly in 2007, there was a very close call and much anxiety.

But although the swollen River Dearne did burst its bank, it was on the far side of the river from properties.

Flood warden John Bannister said: “There were many worried people. We were given a flood alert and told to put belongings upstairs. The pensioners were unsure how to react. People were panicking.” But, he added, the situation was handled more effectively than in 2007.