When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Hundreds evacuated from caravan park following devastating floods
HUNDREDS have been evacuated from a storm-hit caravan park just hours ahead of Christmas Day.
Residents of Gladelands in Ferndown were rescued today by firefighters in an inflatable boat after more than 24 hours of rain flooded the park.
Of 101 static homes, around 50 are estimated to have been submerged, with reports that cars were “floating” in three feet of water.
Around 200 people were rescued by Dorset Fire and Rescue crews as motorists faced miles of stationary traffic in the area.
Two horses were also helped to safety after their field flooded.
Many of those evacuated from their homes were taken to the Barrington Centre in the town, where they faced an overnight stay in sleeping bags on the floor.
Richard Allen, 68, said waters rose “frighteningly quickly”.
“It happened all of a sudden,” he said.
“It's a real shock. I've never seen anything like it. Lots of homes will be underwater.”
He said people's possessions are floating in the deep standing water.
“There are lots of plastic gnomes bobbing about,” he said.
Bill and Maggie Rich, 75 and 70, said many had been stoic about the losses they faced.
“Lots of cars are now submarines,” said Bill.
“The problem was that the electricity went too - there was no signal on our mobile phones and we couldn't call out to anyone. It wasn't very nice but at least everyone seems to be safe and sound.”
One of the oldest to be rescued was 98-year-old Arthur Chrimes, who said: “I have lived here for 27 years and I have never seen anything like this.
“It's absolutely unbelievable. What a shock.”
Wendy Cooper, 64, said many had nowhere to go.
“It's horrendous,” she said.
“Everything is floating. The water easily comes up to my waist and it seems to be rising. I have a turkey in the fridge for Christmas - but the power is out. It's awful.”
Rosemary Handscomb, who works at the Barrington Centre, said around 100 people were expected at the centre over the course of the day.
“The county council has sorted out a bus to bring people here,” she said.
“It's only up the road but it's taken them an hour to do just one trip because the traffic is so bad.”
She added that although there are single sleeping bags at the centre, an East Dorset District Council official is attempting to find mats from a leisure centre.
“These people will need something comfortable to sleep on,” she said.
“Tesco has donated food, but I don't know what we're going to do tomorrow when it runs out as nowhere will be open.”
David Phipp House Furnishers in Ringwood Road opened its doors to the residents of Gladelands, and staff came in on their Christmas Eve to make cups of tea and coffee.
Mr Phipp, who owns the store, said: “We just want to help in any small way that we can.
“The water is still rising, and it has come into our staff room. We've made sandbags but we're expecting some damage. I got the call to say there was flooding at 11am and it's taken me two hours to get from Wimborne to here.”
Comments are closed on this article.