Flash flooding submerges vehicles, surrounds homes off of Jake Alexander Boulevard

Published 8:14 pm Monday, August 31, 2020

SALISBURY — Rescue efforts were underway Monday afternoon at the Wellington Hills subdivision and Sacred Heart Catholic School when rising water flooded the area off of North Jake Alexander Boulevard.

Six to eight people were rescued by boat from their homes and four to five people from the school’s parking lot, said Salisbury Fire Division Chief David Morris.

Salisbury was hit with a burst of heavy rain in the afternoon, which produced severe flash flooding, and prompted fire and rescue personnel to respond to various incidents involving stranded motorists.

A passerby in the Wellington Hills area spotted a taillight in the water, and firefighters sprang into action to see if someone was inside two submerged vehicles. Rescuers could be seen from the roadway using tools to break through a sunroof of one of the vehicles and the window of another. After gaining access into the vehicles, rescue personnel determined no one was inside, Morris said.

Morris confirmed both vehicles floated down from the parking lot in the rear of the subdivision.

Firefighters from Salisbury and Miller’s Ferry Fire departments put boats into the water to carry people away from homes that had been surrounded by water. The American Red Cross was called in to assist the families that were displaced by flooding to their homes. The Salisbury Police Department and other fire personnel blocked off access to the road.

The water also covered the entrance to Sacred Heart Catholic Church and school, leaving parents sitting in their vehicles until it subsided and it was safe to exit. The Millers Ferry Fire Department helped bring students to Jake Alexander Boulevard and over the flooded entrance.

As the water began to recede, firefighters got back into their boats to conduct a secondary search.

Rowan County Rescue Squad was also involved in the rescuing of residents from the Wellington Hills subdivision. Rowan EMS was also on standby to assist anyone if injured.

The initial call came in shortly after 4 p.m. and some crews remained at the scene well beyond 8 p.m. to await the arrival of utility company, Duke Energy, Morris said.