By Susan Monteleone
BARRYVILLE September 21, 2004 Raging and rising river water from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan caused much destruction up and down Route 97 in southern Sullivan County this past weekend.
Highland Chief Constable Robert Maas was overseeing the mad dash to remove construction material and equipment from the under-construction Barryville-Shohola bridge as the Delaware River began to rise higher. Much of the machinery and materials ended up under the high waters.
Some of the material just could not be saved, but with the effort of the bridge crew and area volunteers, some of the equipment made it out of the water, as well as some of the materials," stated Maas.
Maas added that Route 97 south of Barryville was closed due to water overflowing the roadway and that Woods, Clark, Irishtown and Smith roads in the Town of Highland experienced damage.
In the Town of Tusten, Narrowsburg Assistant Chief Michael Kelly noted, "With the increased water level, we evacuated the outer rim of the area known as the "flats" in Narrowsburg as mandatory, and the inner side of the flats was under voluntary evacuations. We have experienced a lot of damage to the area."
Bill Lothrop of the Sullivan County Bureau of Fire was in charge at the command center set up at the Narrowsburg Firehouse for the western end of the county.
"We have established our command post here in Narrowsburg, which is in the center of Callicoon and Barryville, which have had the biggest hits from the water in the area here, he explained. We have fire departments here from Bloomingburg, Liberty, Westbrookville, Fallsburg, the Sullivan County Dive Team, Department of Transportation, Tusten Highway Department, Welcome Lake divers, the State Police Mobile Response, Sheriff, and the Park Rangers.
All of the emergency departments along the river corridor have been working together to help in this emergency situation, he continued. Everyone has done a fine job here today, and I am proud of all of them."
Assistant Chief Michael Kelly added, "A disaster like this is terrible for a community, but here today and all along the corridor, communities have been pulling together helping their neighbors, and that has truly made our job a lot easier. I just want to thank the community for their help."
Kelly further noted that if anyone needs any further assistance, simply call the fire department at 252-3328.
At roughly 8:15 p.m. Sunday, the phone did ring in the Narrowsburg Fire House, and it was the official word everyone was waiting for: go home and get some sleep the danger has passed, and thank you for a job well done.