A clogged roof drain caused rain to flood the Rogers Hotel during the storm Wednesday night.
“It flooded the building and was coming out the electrical,” Waxahachie Fire Chief David Hudgins said.
Two rooms had guests and those occupants were moved to the Holiday Inn, he said.
“Basically, what happened is a drain on the roof got clogged with debris and, of course, when the firefighters got there, they were more concerned with the electrical problem and getting the electricity cut off,” he said.
After securing the electricity, firefighters went to the roof, where they found from 12 to 18 inches of standing water. They located the clog of debris and removed it, with the water “gone in like a minute,” Hudgins said.
Damage to the building included water coming out of lighting fixtures and plaster falling down in the main dining room, he said, placing the estimated cost at about $100,000 for the building.
“Structurally, there’s nothing wrong with the building,” Hudgins said, noting, however, that building officials will keep the building closed until it can be checked out.
“They will have to have an electrician go through it and certify everything is OK,” he said. “Once you get water in your light fixtures, it creates a problem and an electrician will have to go through and look at everything.”
Palmer Volunteer Fire Department and Ferris Fire Department personnel responded to a water rescue on the Interstate 45 service road near the 258-mile marker.
“We received a call about a car in high water down around the golf course there in Palmer, with one female and two children in the vehicle,” Palmer fire Lt./EMT Charlie McElhaney said. “Upon arrival, we found the vehicle was in approximately 3-4 feet of water.”
The adult female had dropped the top on the convertible vehicle and was sitting on top of the car with the two children, McElhaney said.
“We deployed our rescue ropes, tied off and were able to walk out to the car,” McElhaney said, noting life jackets were passed to the vehicle’s occupants. “We got the two kids out and then the mom.”
McElhaney said he believed the woman had called officials from a cell phone after finding herself in the water. He said the water wasn’t “swift” at the time of the rescue, but the woman’s vehicle was in water on top of the bridge over Grove Creek.
“We were very lucky in that it wasn’t rushing,” he said. “We were able to get to them pretty quick, within 10 minutes of the initial call.”
Another luck factor involved with the rescue is that the volunteer fire department had five personnel on duty this morning, he said, noting the assistance also from Ferris personnel.
“It wasn’t white-water rapid, but there was a slight current and they were in some danger,” he said. “They were sitting right on the bridge. But we were able to get to them without any problem, with no incident and no injury.”
The Texas Department of Transportation was contacted, he said, noting workers came out and shut the gates on the service road to restrict access until the waters recede.
County storm damage
Elsewhere in Ellis County, the four precincts had the following reports:
In Pct. 1, Commissioner Dennis Robinson reported one tree was downed by the weather.
“We’ve got three roads closed because of high water: Palmyra, Parker Hill and Boyce roads. Those are the only three closed at this time,” he said. “We’ll be monitoring the water the rest of the day and, as soon as it drops down below the bridges, we’ll get that cleaned up and get it reopened.”
Pct. 2 Commissioner Bill Dodson said, while he was unaware of any major property damage, there was flooding on several of his roads.
“Pigg Road (Reagor Springs area) is flooded with water, Moseley and Dunkerley roads are flooded. There’s some debris on the bridge at Holder Road,” he said. “Parker Hill Road is under water also where it crosses Red Oak Creek east of Palmer.”
While there was little if any wind around much of Ennis, outlying areas seemed to get the brunt of winds that were the focus of televised weather reports that cited the city as a trouble spot when the storm was moving through.
In a telephone interview this morning, Dodson said the waters were receding rapidly and he expected most spots to be cleared by lunchtime.
“We have numerous tree branches blown down, and we've got guys cutting tree limbs and trying to get roads passable, like we normally would after a big rain or a thunderstorm,” he said, citing Oak Grove and Novy roads as having trees and major branches down.
“We’ve got trees down all over the place,” said Alysa Kirton, commissioner’s secretary in Pct. 3. “They’ve been picking up all night.”
As of press time, road closures in Pct. 3 included Old Maypearl Road, Hamrock Road, Smith Road, Morgan Road, Brigman Road and Bee Creek Road.
“We had 4 1/2 inches of rain at our residence,” said Kirton, who resides in Italy.
A single tree across a power line brought staff from Pct. 4 out to V.V. Jones Road at Farm-to-Market 875 at 1 a.m., Commissioner Ron Brown said.
“We were called out last night on a one-tree situation. A tree was blown down – we cleaned it up and that was about it,” he said.
A sheriff’s deputy stayed at the site all night to wait on Oncor as the line was down, he said.
There was no report of related power outage in the area as of this morning although Oncor hadn’t been at the site, Brown said.
“It’s not a really heavily populated area,” he said.
Daily Light Managing Editor JoAnn Livingston and Ennis Journal Managing Editor J. Louise Larson contributed to this report.