Toronto

Humber River flood waters force 200 people from their homes in Bolton

Evacuations began around 8:30 p.m., with emergency services going door-to-door to warn residents, said Caledon Mayor Alan Thompson. Bolton is the most populous community within the town of Caledon.

Crews are using heavy equipment to break up 6 ice jams

About 200 residents had to leave their homes due to dangerous flooding caused by six ice jams in the Humber River. (@OPP_COMM_CR/Twitter)

About 200 people forced from their homes in Bolton, Ont., by severe flooding are now awaiting word on when they may be able to return.

Six ice jams that formed in the Humber River caused water levels to rise rapidly beginning around 7 p.m. Friday. The flood water quickly filled an overflow weir before spilling onto roadways and private properties in the community about 90 kilometres from downtown Toronto.

The area surrounding the intersection of King Street E. and Humber Lea Road were hardest hit by high water levels, Ontario Provincial Police said Saturday. 

Evacuations began around 8: 30 p.m. last night, with emergency services going door-to-door to warn residents, according to Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson. Bolton is the most populous community within the town of Caledon.

At 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, as the flood waters crested, officials expanded the evacuation zone. 

"We were able to get everybody to safe ground quickly," Thompson said.

Construction crews brought in heavy equipment overnight in an effort to break up the dangerous build-up of ice and debris. Ice flows continue to come down river, however.

"We're trying to pull the ice off the river and back onto the banks so we can keep the water moving," Thompson explained.

"But we clear one and then another jam forms somewhere else. It's going to be an ongoing issue."

The area around the river remains an "emergency zone," he added.

Engineers are on scene, but they need the water to recede further before they can assess the extent of damage done to homes and other structures. Some of the older homes in Bolton have foundations of flagstone rather than concrete and are therefore more susceptible to water damage.

Residents who were forced from their homes are currently being sheltered at the Caledon Centre for Recreation and Wellness. They spent the night at a local hotel.  

Thompson said he hopes that most will be able to return to their homes on Saturday, but it's not clear if that will be possible. Utilities crews are not yet able to turn hydro and gas lines back on. 

"There's just a lot of water displaced all over streets and all over peoples' yards," he said.

One apartment building also sustained significant damage. Town officials believe it could be several days before those residents are able to get back into their units. 

The flooding prompted OPP to close several roads in the vicinity of the Humber River. Drivers and pedestrians are advised to avoid the area until waters recede.

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