Heavy rainfall on Friday did more than flood Elgin Street East. Cobourg Internet News provides the following report: "From an unfortunate chain of events, Cobourg Harbour Walk Condos at 145 and 125 Third Street were forced to evacuate today. These condos are joined by a single underground garage whose floor level is 4 feet below the normal level of Lake Ontario. When it flooded today (no surprise) a resident said that machinery used to try to cope with the flood generated high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in the building. Then when the machinery was stopped, water levels rose and flooded the electrical system causing total power blackout in the two buildings. Small pumps powered by a portable generator cannot keep up with the inflow of water so large “vacuum” trucks have been called in (photo below).
It may be unrelated but the same condos are in the middle of replacing their garage entrance ramp. The under slab heating was faulty and replacement meant all cars had to be out of the basement while the work was completed. Irrespective, the ramp provides a fast track for torrential rain runoff to enter the garage. Also, the pump trucks would no doubt need to use the ramp to access the basement/ garage but since the ramp is not yet fully set, it could be damaged.
Residents were told to evacuate (because of the CO level) around 2:00pm and firemen went door to door to make sure everyone got the message. Later, some were allowed to quickly retrieve stuff but were accompanied by a fireman.
They understood that the recovery work would be finished by Saturday and they could expect to return then. But Lakeland expects that Power “will 100% NOT be restored by Saturday” and a best guess would be Monday. So an overnight stay in a hotel will become a nightmare 2 or 3 night stay. My guess is that they may be allowed back to get more clothes once the CO is cleared.
No-one was hurt but it’s not known if all pets were removed with residents – and certainly there will be spoiled food in refrigerators.
At around 8:00pm, the Town of Cobourg issued the following:
We would like to advise that the condo buildings located at 125-145 Third Street have been safely evacuated earlier due to flooding affecting the electrical system in the basement.
All individuals located within these buildings are safe. The Cobourg Community Centre (CCC) at 750 D’Arcy Street is serving as a temporary Reception Centre offering support to evacuees until they find accommodation with nearby relatives or friends.
Genedco Property Management Ltd. manages the condominium properties located at 125-145 Third Street and are working on getting the properties restored as soon as possible. They hope to have residents returning to their homes within 24 hours.
The evacuation did not proceed smoothly. Residents were told to go to the CCC where the Red Cross would look after them. They were also told that a bus would be provided to take them where they needed to go. There was no bus to be seen and no Red Cross. Instead they were given a list of hotels with vacant rooms and taxis were called. Their cellphone numbers were collected and would be used to let them know when they can return. You have to wonder who is responsible for managing this kind of thing. The Fire Department seemed to do a good job clearing the building but there was mixed communication.
There were several hundred people (mostly seniors) involved in this evacuation and with no injuries (at least not yet) it has to be called a success but you can bet at least some of the residents will be critical." [content and photo credit: John Draper. Used with permission]