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2011 Flood: Vestal residents reflect on the aftermath

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Kienan flood

VESTAL (WBNG) -- Floods are not new to Vestal or the Southern Tier.

Vestal Town Supervisor John Shaffer said rain hasn't always been a bad thing either. However, in 2011, it was in a way that many people had never seen before.

"It can be a really bad thing if you get more than you need over a day or two event," Shaffer said. "This turned out to be a year-long event."

For some like Town Historian Margaret Hadsell, it's a matter of adjustment.

"We've lived through it for so long, we know how to deal with it," she said.

Hadsell lived in Vestal for more than 70 years and said the storm caught many people by surprise.

"It was a lot, a lot worse than just a wet basement or maybe a little on the first floor, but it wiped them out. For some of them, the foundations were literally blown away," she said.

Carrie Tischer has lived in Vestal for 35 years. In 2011, she and her daughter evacuated to a friend's house while her husband decided to stay and look after the home.

"He was woken up by the sound of our neighbor's cellar caving in," she said. With water levels quickly rising, he had to act quickly.

"He called me and asked if I wanted him to move anything up from the basement and I said 'no just get out of there, so he got the car and had to drive across the neighbor's lawn," she said.

With her family safe, Tischer said she was at peace.

"I still didn't know that it was going to happen. So I just trusted God that he'll take care of us no matter what. If it got flooded, it's just stuff," she said.

Tischer said the community came together in a way she had never seen before.

Shaffer said it was a harrowing experience that he hopes he never has to go through again.

"It was a big effort between the town, the county and the state," Shaffer said. "We learned a lot... It was just a horrible, horrible thing to happen," he said.

On Sept. 7 at 7 p.m., 12 News will air a one-hour special about the flood that devasted the Southern Tier, showcasing how a community came together in a time of remarkable need.

Kienan Dixon

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