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'Unprecedented' flooding kills one and floods basements in Glencoe, Ont.

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“Unprecedented” is the word most residents of Glencoe Ont. are using to describe heavy rains.

Gauges in the community hit as high as 200 mm (just shy of 8”) Wednesday.

The heaviest rain fell in the evening, overwhelming Glencoe’s Main and some secondary roads.

But sadly, the power of Mother Nature was most evident less than 10 kilometres north of town.

A portion of Dundonald Road, a key access route to Lambton County communities, washed out.

Moments after the collapse, a transport truck loaded with a chemical compound crashed into the opening.

“It was a pretty horrific scene,” said OPP Const. Jeff Hare.

Emergency responders could do little to help the transport operator.

“There was a lone transport truck that had fallen inside. Unfortunately, because of the injuries sustained in the collision, the driver succumbed at the scene," Hare told CTV News.

Dundonald Road after collision in Middlesex County, Ont. on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)Police later stated the driver was a 59-year-old Mississauga resident.

As road crews worked to secure the damaged roadway, police confirmed it would remain closed for at least a couple of weeks.

Back in Glencoe, there was shock about the death and the overall power of Mother Nature.

Trevor Sinclair was firing up his generator after flooding knocked out power to his home. He said the water came inside quickly.

“Saw a bit of water, and next thing you know we decided to move some stuff to the garage, and when we got back inside it was too late. Everything was just covered in water.”

As he backed away,Sinclair snapped pictures of the water flowing into his basement. One showed it reaching toilet height in a bathroom. He then knew it was time to surrender to the storm.

“Within about two hours, it was up over three feet, over the receptacles about table height.”

A flooded bathroom in the basement of Trevor Sinclair's Glencoe, Ont. home on Aug. 23, 2023. (Source: Trevor Sinclair)Sean Boucher of Pillar Restoration said water had filled multiple basements in Glencoe.

His firm and others were busy in communities including West Elgin, Dutton-Dunwich, Warwick, and Adelaide-Metcalfe.

“In some of the places, houses and their foundations have two feet or more of water. You know sump pumps cannot keep up with it,” said Boucher.

Near the downtown core of Glencoe, John and Sharon Angel were busy pumping water out of their crawl space. The couple said it flooded quickly.

“Well, I walked around here and it was over my knees,” John stated as he pointed to the lawn around his home.

“That’s when we realized we’re in trouble,” shared Sharon, who later added the couple prayed when they realized there was nothing they could do.

The flooded Main Street of Glencoe, Ont. during heavy rains on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023 (Sean Irvin / CTV News London)At the same time, their neighbour, Alex Lalama, was fighting a losing battle in his finished basement.

“It was like Niagara Falls coming out the back step. All the backyard was flooded. There was water up to the ceiling in the basement by the end of it,” said Lalama.

Damage estimates for the entire community will take some time to compile but losses, including damage to area farm fields, are expected to be significant, according to Southwest Middlesex Mayor Allan Mayhew. 

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