By Robert J. Sivori
Flood waters rose quickly after Hurricane Florence lingered over eastern North Carolina and drenched the area in torrential rainfall. That flooding caught some local residents by surprise.
From the Warsaw firehouse command center, volunteer firefighters like James Blackmore, son of the Fire Chief, traveled to NC 403 west of North Duplin High School to rescue two men whom the raging flood waters had swept into the swamp. The Warsaw Swift Rescue Team joined with their counterparts in Faison, Calypso and Oakwood by dispatching two five-ton high water rescue vehicles to the scene.
The rescue crews positioned their large vehicles as anchor points as the team, including Blackmore and Lee Kennedy, Fire Chief for Faison, waded into the fast running stream, reached the stranded men and winched them to safety.
Soon after that rescue, James Blackmore assisted in pulling another vehicle’s driver from an overflowing stream on Tear Shirt Road near Friendship Church Road.
NC 403 just east of Faison lost over one hundred feet of roadway to Florence’s relentless flood waters. Beautancus Road, near Bear Marsh Church, collapsed. The large bulkheads which supported conduits, meant to drain rainwater from the marsh, gave way and undermined the road bed.
Less than two miles away, Eva James Road also collapsed. Water runoff tore a fifty-foot section of corrugated steel conduit in two and drove the sections a hundred yards downstream. The racing water scoured the stream bed down to bedrock, uprooted trees, and scattered branches along its banks.