Three die in floods

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:01

Pike spared worst of damage MILFORD — The region’s third 100-year flood in the past 22 months was deadly, but locally it did not wreak the property damage of its two predecessors. Three people were said to have died in flood-related incidents, one each in Pike and Wayne counties, and one in Sullivan County, N.Y. The National Park Service reported that the body of George Anderson, 66, of Pocono Lakes Estates in Bushkill was recovered June 29 in a flooded area just north of the Bushkill boat launch ramp. Anderson had been reported missing Friday morning, after failing to return Thursday, following a trip to the river to photograph the floodwaters. The apparent cause of death was drowning, but an official determination is pending a coroner’s inquiry. According to the Wayne County Coroner’s Office, James P. Dower, 76, died accidentally due to heart failure resulting from hypothermia. His place of residence was not available at press time. Dower was found in his vehicle by ambulance and fire rescue volunteers June 28 on Pine Mill Road, amid flooding along the Little Equinunk Creek. In Livingston Manor, N.Y., on June 28, New York State Police said 15-year-old, Jamie Bertholf died when her house collapsed into the flooding Cattail Brook, a tributary of Willowemoc Creek. Bertholf’s body was recovered downstream on the following day. Aside from these accounts, Pike County was largely spared the extensive private and public property damage that occurred during the storms of September 2004 and April 2005, said Pike Emergency Management Director Roger Maltby. “We did not get the heavy rains or the serious stream overflows. We had a river flood,” Maltby said. The heavier impacts came in Lackawaxen Township, where the Lackawaxen River caused severe property damage, and undermined sections of the Towpath, along the state highway following the river. The Westfall police department and highway department buildings were also heavily damaged, as was Delaware Drive, which is another state highway. In terms of municipal costs, Maltby said, “Our biggest thing was associated costs: millions of gallons of water being pumped, police overtime and cleaning up debris. If there are other costs, they haven’t been reported,” Maltby said Monday. Following inspections of private flood damage, Maltby said the county probably would not reach a required threshold of 50 completely destroyed properties, needed to qualify for private, federal disaster aid through FEMA. Tom and Kelli Walsh, Matamoras residents for many years, were busy cleaning up the mess last Saturday. “We got hit last April and suffered over $15,000 damage. We just got done fixing up this past November, and now ... again,” said Kelli Walsh. “My insurance won’t cover anything below the first level. The last time FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Red Cross were here with vouchers for food, furnace repairs, and other help. But not this time, no one’s here for us, ”she said. “This never happened as badly but since they built up Westfall with all the stores it got worse. The river is over ¾ of a mile from here. Matamoras needs to do something like building a levy or a retaining wall,” she added.