Gushing flood waters force evacuations in Oneida area

At a dam on the corner of Elmwood Place and Stone Street in Sherrill, gushing flood waterscreated a gaping hole several feet deep in a neighbor's backyard.

"As the water was flowing down, it actually breeched around [the] side of the elevation dam and started to erode this entire bank, and then took some trees down with it, and then took stones," said Sherrill City Manager Robert Comis.

At Dixons Mobile Manor in Oneida Castle, fire officials said the park saw eight feet of water. This is the second time in two years the park has flooded.

"The first time it happened two years ago, and it only went to the bottom of steps on the deck," said Edwina Myers, whose mobile home was flooded. "This time, it probably covered the decks."

In the City of Oneida, Deputy Fire Chief James Dalzell estimated 250 homes and businesses were flooded as a result of two levees breaking on Friday morning. Officials said the water could take as long as a week to completely recede.

Neighbors in the area of Linden Street in Oneida said they watched rescue boats help people evacuate from their homes. "It was really sad watching the kids get off with their backpacks of belongings and stuff," said mom Ashley Smith. "And there were people going back for their animals, and they had little puppies in cages. And it was really sad. It breaks your heart."

The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the Oneida YMCA. Fire officials said police officers and firefighters will be staying overnight at five spots around the city to watch for looting, and will reassess the situation on Saturday morning.