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Storm forces Wallingford evacuation

By Staff | Jun 29, 2010

Lightning lit up the night sky both Friday and Saturday making display like this image captured by Megan Van Sine. Van Sine said she couldn’t sleep so began taking photos of the storm in Estherville in the early Saturday morning hours. Photo submitted by Megan Van Sine

A violent thunderstorm Friday night forced the evacuation of residents from south Wallingford.

Wallingford Fire Chief Jarrod Fischer said the residents were evacuated as a precaution when a ditch south of Wallingford overflowed its banks. “We have homes that are pretty damaged,” Fischer said.

Fischer said the department was paged at midnight and immediately began evacuating south Wallingford residents because rising waters were approaching electric panels – a definite fire threat. Adding insult to injury was flooding in the Community Center basement which took out the air conditioning and heater – the same day the department had scheduled its fundraising event.

Marc Rush, manager of customer operations for Alliant Energy which services Wallingford, said powerlines were down on both sides of the west fork of the Des Moines, forcing crews to deploy by boat to do repairs.

“We had two employees that were very stubborn and very persistent,” Rush said, crediting them with tacking the job. “I couldn’t be too proud of them.”

Rush said Alliant decided to fix the lines once the decision was made to return residents to their homes after the evacuation.