Westchester: “State of Emergency”

Residents are being offered safety if they choose to evacuate

Officials in west suburban Westchester used boats and helicopters to search for stranded residents Saturday as the town called a state of emergency due to heavy rains and flooding.

The state of emergency was announced by Westchester Village president Sam Pulia.

Although no injuries have been reported, streets and houses are experiencing flooding and a retention pan on the south side of Westchester may be overflowing, according to Maureen Pulia, First Lady and wife of Sam.

Emergency crews are fighting to reach the scenes of major flooding, as hundreds of water rescues, dozens of stranded people, and evacuations throughout the village of west suburban Westchester are being reported Saturday.

With water up to the waist in some areas, up to the rooftops of cars in others, and filling up viaducts all the way through, the village of Westchester is in complete disaster mode, according to Village President Sam Pulia.

Flooding began about 1 a.m. and by 5:30 a.m., robo calls to residents informing them of necessary evacuations were put in place, Pulia said. No one has been reported injured as of 9 a.m.

The number of water rescues from people stranded in cars and their homes with basements under three to six feet of water was in the hundreds. At least 30 to 35 people “with no place to go” were being housed at the village hall and firehouse community rooms, Pulia said. Coffee was being provided as a small bit of comfort.

Calling the situation “helpless” and “decimated,” Pulia also said several emergency crews were also halted as the flooding prevented them from reaching the scene.

Addison Creek and a retention pond on the south side of the village was overflowing as the major intersection of South Mannheim and West Roosevelt roads remained completely under water, Pulia said. The sewers are fully charged.

Westchester fire and police department telephones were down and calls were forwarded to neighboring Broadview police, a Broadview dispatcher said. Phone and power lines were also down.

“This is a disaster that I’ve never seen in this area before,” Pulia said. “The damage is insurmountable.”

The village was in the process of bouncing back from the damaged caused by the June 23 storms, Pulia said.

The Cook County Sheriff’s office is also aiding in response although a spokesman could not immediately be reached.

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