Rhode Island and Much of Northeast Hit by Historic Floods, Helped by Emergency Response

Article excerpt

Safety officials may not have built arks, but emergency response workers in Rhode Island and across the Northeast made extraordinary efforts to protect residents as historic floods swept the region.

Emergency workers across the northeastern US made extraordinary efforts to protect residents as historic floods swept across the region.

With Rhode Island bearing the brunt of epic floods, no fatalities had been reported as of Wednesday in that state or surrounding ones.

IN PICTURES: Springtime flooding in the US

Safety officials may not have built any arks, but the floods prompted actions on a host of other fronts:

- National Guard troops were called into Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and in Connecticut they averted a hazardous mess by piling sandbags to keep a sewage treatment plant from becoming engulfed. "We narrowly averted a very bad situation," Ken Sullivan, the utilities director of Jewett City, told the Norwich Bulletin.

- Firefighters used inflatable boats to evacuate some residents in Cranston, R.I., and Red Cross workers helped provide shelter nearby for many displaced by the floods.

- Emergency workers used backhoes and other equipment to keep residents of one section of Freetown, Mass., from being stranded as waters flowed over an access road.

- State and local officials kept wary watch on potentially frail dams and bridges, ordering evacuations when they deemed them necessary. …