Rescue crews were busy in Cortland Thursday night and into Friday as widespread flooding after massive thunderstorms forced the closure of several roads, and the evacuation of a Wal-Mart and a nearby retirement home.Officials advise Cortland County residents to use caution when driving as some roads may still have standing water. Members of the Marathon Fire Department evacuated people stranded in Wal-Mart on Route 13 with an airboat. Officials say more than 60 people were evacuated from Wal-Mart.
Route 13 in Cortlandville was re-opened to traffic around 12:15 a.m. Friday. Route 38 between 34B and 366 re-opened Friday morning.
Bob Hutchings and Jeremy Warfield work at the Wal Mart in Cortlandville. "It's scary. I've never seen it this bad. I've lived here all my life," says Hutchings.
"You got cars which are halfway underwater, I parked over there. Walking up there, you got the fan boats and you gotta be kidding me. It's not anything you think would happen," says Warfield.
Their co-worker Danielle Toussaint was inside when the flooding happened. "It sort of happened really fast. It was raining for only a couple hours and then one of the employees said the parking lot is flooding, and the next thing we know is the whole store is flooding and we're evacuating," says Toussaint.
The Cortlandville Fire Department, alongside several other departments throughout the area, evacuated 70 people from the Walden Place Retirement Home next to the Wal-Mart. The evacuees were taken to the Cortland Regional Medical Center where the Red Cross was on stand by to assist them in the sudden transition.
Jared Gebel is the Deputy Fire Chief in Cortlandville. "Everything happened all at once, and it spread us out. Usually when these instances happen, it's on one side of town or the other. But tonight, the entire Southern half of Cortland County got it all at once," says Gebel.
There are no known reports of injuries.