© Renell LeGrow photo
The Badger Fire Department currently has three road blocks set up in the town to ensure no one can go near the water tower.
Residents of 23 homes on School Road in Badger were evacuated yesterday evening, according to Mayor Mike Patey.
“We had those residents come to the community centre and let us know where they were going,” the mayor told the Advertiser this morning. “They all found accommodations with friends and family in different parts of the town.”
The Badger town council declared a local state of emergency yesterday evening on School Road for precautionary measures, Mayor Patey said.
“The reason why we did that is because our water tank has been inspected and shut down. We’re not allowed to put water in the tank,” Mayor Patey explained this morning. “Of course, when you have an 80-foot empty tank sitting on a hill with these weather conditions that we’re supposed to receive, high winds could topple the tank. “
Mayor Patey said council was in contact with Fire and Emergency Services, and also called the Nova Central School District last night to inform them that Avoca Collegiate would be closed for the entire day, due to its proximity to the tank.
Schools in the Nova Central School District were closed for this morning, and they were going to look at it again at 11 a.m., he explained, but Avoca will not be reopening.
“Our local fire department went on last night at 10 p.m., set up road blocks and blocked the School Road on both ends and River Road, because we had to make sure that nobody in vehicles or walking went down to that area where the tank was at,” Mayor Patey said. “Plus they kept an eye on the tank all during the night and they are still on duty right now.”
The state of emergency will be in effect until the wind condition and speed change, and overall conditions improve, he added.
”We will lift the state of emergency and let the residents back into their homes only after the conditions are safe,” he said. “We’re getting pretty good gusts there at times, and of course it’s raining pretty hard. It has been like this since 6 a.m., with the heavier rain and the higher wind. The winds are supposed to get a little bit higher so we’ll see what happens over the next two or three hours.”
Mayor Patey said he spoke to a representative of Nalcor and said they had a man stationed up on the dam last night. They just let off some minimum water releases, which they do anyway, he said.
“With the amount of rain we’re expecting, they felt that it wouldn’t topple the river banks here at all,” Mayor Patey said. “There would be an increase in the height of the water, but it wasn’t a threat to us whatsoever.”
As of right now, there is no threat, he said.
For now, the local fire department have road blocks set up in three locations to “ensure the safety of our residents,” Mayor Patey said.
“One thing about our fire department they are well trained in these type of events, we’re after having a few of them over the years,” Mayor Patey said. “These guys are out on patrol taking shifts.”