Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Homeowners will have to wait

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BREEZY POINT -- When owners of homes flooded by water and smashed by ice here are finally allowed back in to see their places, they won't be alone.

Property owners will be escorted by Rural Municipality of St. Andrews volunteer firefighters both for physical and emotional support.

It may be very difficult emotionally for some people when they see their homes or cottages, explained St. Andrews Reeve Don Forfar. Firefighters can also help move furniture or other heavy items.

It will also be done in orderly fashion with only small groups allowed in at one time. "It will be incremental," he said.

There was no timetable Tuesday for when the mandatory evacuation might be lifted. Flooding and massive ice slabs ripped through Breezy Point last Saturday night, damaging most of the 122 residences, about 50 of which are permanent homes.

Much work has to be done before people can be allowed back in. Giant slabs of ice still blocked Breezy Point Road. Many hydro poles had been knocked down.

Once power has been restored, Manitoba Hydro will have to turn on the power of every residence to ensure the home is safe.

The Red River has also not hit its crest yet.

Homeowner B. J. Schofield showed up Tuesday only to be turned away by security guards are blocking the road to Breezy Point.

However, he viewed his property and others in a little 14-foot open boat on Monday, a violation of the evacuation order.

"There was about a foot and a half of water in my house," but no ice damage, Schofield said.

He saw four or five houses hit hard by ice damage. "One cabin got totally smashed in. About a seven-foot-wall of ice went straight through one house," he said.

Some homes had been knocked off their pilings. Many more boat houses were smashed but Schofield didn't know if there had been boats inside them.

The majority of buildings had flood damage alone, Schofield said.

From a helicopter, Forfar said it looked like two rivers in the area: the Red River, and a river of water covering much of the road into Breezy Point.

 

-- Bill Redekop

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 15, 2009 A5

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