Vermilion flooding victims begin clean-up, assess property damage

Officials say residents "not out of the woods yet"

VERMILION, Ohio - The sound of pressure washers could be heard throughout the north end of Vermilion's Riverside Drive neighborhood Sunday as homeowners began major clean-up and damage assessment following recent flooding.

Riverside Drive property owner Hugh Coyle put in a new floating floor in his kitchen two years ago.

"Last night it was floating," Coyle says.

Tina Miller rents Coyle's Vermilion home. She never left home while the area flooded. She moved as much of her possessions as she could to upper floors.

Though Tina was terrified, her pets were her main reason for waiting things out.

"This is my house. I have a dog and a bird and I don't think a motel room would let me take a dog and a bird in the motel room," said Miller.

While water receded enough Sunday for residents on the north end to gain access to their homes, floating ice and water prevented homeowners on the south end of Riverside Drive from reaching their properties.

City workers cleared roads on the neighborhood's north end, but could not reach the south end due to the presence of water and ice.

"Pretty bad situation still," homeowner Mark Passarell says. "The water level is down but still an awful lot of ice and water is left behind."

Vermilion city officials said residents are "not out of the woods yet."

Large ice jams that remained in the neighborhood might create future problems.

"You never know what the river's going to do and if that breaks free and comes up here to the trestle, this area could end up under water again," Vermilion director of public service Robert Kurtz says.

Residents understood the risk of living in a low-lying area near water.

"This time of year, February, we all understand what could happen and this year it did but come the rest of the year, it's beautiful down here," Coyle says.

Shallow water prevented a Coast Guard ice cutter from attempting to open up the mouth of the Vermilion River where it meets Lake Erie.



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