State of Emergency declared in West Lafayette as flood waters rise

| June 19, 2019

Photo taken by Tom Lahna.

WEST LAFAYETTE – A state of emergency has been declared in West Lafayette today as the worst flooding in recent history occurred within the village.

“I have been here 41 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mayor Stephen Bordenkircher. “I’ve talked to people who have been here 50-plus years and they’ve never seen anything like this either.”

Bordenkircher said that last night, the village evacuated 30 people in the apartment complex by boat, with the aid of the American Red Cross. According to Bordenkircher, the water at the complex was chest-high and water near the high school was about waist-high.

Evacuees were taken to the West Lafayette Baptist Church.

Elaine Wilson, a volunteer at the local chapter of the American Red Cross, said that the organization has provided cots, food, and water to the evacuees. She also said that several people in Coshocton have called the organization asking to donate and that Papa John’s is donating pizzas.

“It’s good to know that people are always willing to help out in a situation like this,” said Wilson.

The Ridgewood General Store is also offering their help publicly on social media this morning and offered anyone in the community who needed a clean bathroom, running water, drinking water, or just to get away for a while to stop by the store with no obligation to make any type of purchase. Jay and Sue Davis said they just want to help the community and offer whatever they can.

Bordenkircher said that he will be meeting with his staff and the Coshocton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) later today to decide what the next steps will be.

The Coshocton County EMA posted on their Facebook page asking residents to avoid the West Lafayette area if at all possible.

“Rob McMasters, director of the Coshocton County EMA, is doing a great job and I would definitely heed Rob’s advice strongly,” said Vaughn Steinmetz, assistant chief at Coshocton County EMS. “Don’t drive through high waters, turn around, don’t drown. Listen to your local EMA office. The Coshocton County EMS is also there as another resource with rising water and getting people out as well as any other medical condition that may arise. But I have full faith in our local EMA.”

The Coshocton County EMS is taking precaution for tonight’s predicted rain.

“We are placing another crew on tonight and strategically placing them at Station Three, given that is where the flooding is the worst,” said Steinmetz. “Unfortunately, we don’t know how much rain is going to fall and where it is going to fall, but we are placing another crew at Station Three as a precaution.”

Flooding also reached outside of the village limits and Bordenkircher said he knows of at least three homes where basements have collapsed due to the flooding.

“For people who are venturing out today, don’t unless you have to,” said Bordenkircher. “All spectators do is muck up the work that we are trying to do. I have had people try to drive through the water and get stranded, so we then have to take time out of what we are trying to do to get their cars out of the water. They would do us a great service if they would stay away.”

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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