Darby Borough underwater

dd 1 darby

Darby residents say they haven't seen flooding this bad since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Parts of the borough are being evacuated as Darby Creek continues to rise.

A new bridge on MacDade Boulevard was supposed to help. Apparently, it hasn't. A construction site in the flood plain appears to have been wiped out. Strikes me as an odd place to build.

Update: Delaware County Emergency Services Director Ed Truitt (who's running on no sleep) says there have been roughly 100 rescues countywide. In Springfield, along Darby Creek, residents had to be evacuated from second-floor windows, he said. Serious flooding also has been reported near Chester Creek. On Route 1 in Chadds Ford, a tractor trailer hydroplaned and crashed. Darby Borough evacuees are being taken to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital if they have nowhere else to go.

"The power of water, frankly, amazes me," Truitt said.

Update 2: The water receded back into the creek by late morning and firefighters are now just hosing the mud-sludge off the road. Police Chief Robert Adams from neighboring Collingdale, who was on the scene in Darby, says no injuries or deaths were reported. Firefighters had to evacuate one elderly resident from the second floor of his home by parking the fire truck in a Dunkin Donuts lot and using the ladder as a bridge over Springfield Road.

Freddie Casper, who has been living in Darby for more than 50 years, says he's used to the creek's Jekyll & Hyde personality. There's nothing you can do about it, he said, while puffing on a stogie, "Just clean up."

 As the Bottle Rockets song goes: "Hope for the best, and mop up the rest."

Update 3: Delaware County Council Chairman Jack Whelan declared a state of emergency today. It will remain in effect for seven days. The declaration authorizes the release of emergency resources and enables officials to coordinate their response to the flooding, which affected Darby, Springfield, Radnor, Chester and elsewhere.

Darby Borough Police Chief Bob Smythe said the new MacDade Boulevard bridge, which no longer has the middle beam that would catch debris and jam up Darby Creek, was somewhat helpful. But the creek rose so high this morning that debris piled up against the top of the bridge.

"Who the hell designed a bridge that’s the same height as the bridge we had?" Smythe asked. "Unless you dredge this creek, I don’t give a damn what they do. It needs to be dredged. Everyone knows that."