Columbia Flooding Keeps Rescue Teams Busy

Rescue crews use a boat to evacuate residents from a neighborhood in Irmo.
Rescue crews use a boat to evacuate residents from a neighborhood in Irmo.

Columbia, SC – The historic flooding in the Columbia area has kept local and state rescue teams busy.

Rescue teams and firefighters in Irmo spent Sunday night and Monday morning evacuating everyone from a neighborhood off of Bush River Road after it was flooded by water released from a dam upstream.

Resident Ukly Ndieli said as she was standing outside, “Everything I have is gone. Look at my kids. We are standing here. We don’t have a place to go.”

Authorities have set up shelters across the county for those who’ve had to evacuate.

The South Carolina National Guard’s Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team, or HART, has also been busy, plucking stranded people out of flooded neighborhoods. CW3 Will Sirmon, a helicopter pilot, told reporters Monday, “Yesterday, we had an area over on Bluff Road that was affected by the flash flooding. So a whole neighborhood was basically cut off and surrounded by water. On the East side and West side of Bluff Road and about a two square mile area they had it blocked off and just water rushing over. And so when we assessed the scene, there were people waving towels and getting our attention and I think we rescued about 25 people out of that one neighborhood.”

Fellow Pilot CW2 Antonio Montgomery says the perspective of the flood is much different from the air. “Some areas are pretty bad. We’ve seen houses and sheds and other things that are completely underwater. And then there are other areas that look perfectly fine. So it depends on exactly where you are.”

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