Watertown Fire Department rescues people from vehicles after flooding

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A man was rescued Friday morning after driving his car into high water in Watertown. Tim Halbach photo.


UPDATE (WKOW) -- A severe weather system moved through southern Wisconsin Friday morning dumping several inches of rain and causing major flooding in Watertown.

Streets were turned into rivers in several parts of the city.

“The last time it was this bad was in 2008 when we had the big rains,” said Scott Kaufman, who has lived on W. Main Street since 1989.

According to Kaufman, an elderly man was pulled from this vehicle on west main street after trying to drive through flood water.

“He goes around the barricade and he just started driving through. probably got about 10 to 15 feet into it and all of a sudden it stalled and he just drifted and flowed on down to the trestle,” Kaufman said.

Assistant Fire Chief Tim Gordon said firefighters have been working overtime rescuing stranded drivers in several parts of the city.

“While we were rescuing one person out of a car, someone went around a road closed barricade, drove into the water, quite deep water. He had to be rescued. And he probably would have drowned if we wouldn't have been there,” Gordon said. “There were numerous areas. I couldn't even name. I had a list of 12 areas that were flooding.”

Kaufman said the street gets flooded whenever there's a heavy rain. He said people always drive through the flood water, but he tries to warn them not to.

“It there's any type of current, if there any type of current, it doesn't take much to sweep a vehicle away,” Kaufman said. “I've hollered at people for driving around barricades, 'Hey, can't you see the road's closed?' It's amazing how many people just drive around barricades.”

Officials want to remind drivers to turn around and don't drown when you encounter flood water.

“When the road says closed, it's closed for a reason. Water, don't mess with it because you don't know what's underneath it,” Kaufman said.

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