Paulding works hard to combat flooding during state of emergency

PAULDING COUNTY, OHIO (WANE) – Flooding was a concern for people in Ohio Tuesday, especially in Paulding. There was a state of emergency there following Payne. The issue became stopping the water from coming up onto the street from the Flatrock Creek. Although it was a day without rain in Paulding, water made its way to town. “It was like shocking. I mean it’s just crazy,” Charlie Fetty said. Fetty was in town visiting a friend and was stunned to see the flooding.

After more than 5 inches poured down, the village was put under a state of emergency. “The commissioners declared a state of emergency at 10 o’clock last night, initially at the village of Payne this morning that carried over to the village of Paulding,” Edward Bohn, the director of emergency management, said.

Bohn said they didn’t waste any time protecting the school and the historic library.

More than a decade ago, Susan Pieper, the director of the library did what librarians do and researched. She was looking for something that would help protect the historic building. “I found a company in Texas that made these products called WIPP. It stands for water inflated property protectors.”

Fighting water with water, it’s inflated with water from a fire truck and used to stop water from moving up the parking lot. Its efficiency was appreciated as there was a lot of water approaching the building quickly. “We’re stewards of these old buildings and it’s our responsibility to take care of them and preserve them even though our place here on earth is just a dust, its whisper of time. It’s been here 100 years and it’ll be here another 100 or 200 years and we need to protect it from the floods.”

Chief Todd Weidenhamer with the Paulding Community Fire Department said it was their goal to get to the library early. “That was our main goal to keep damage minimal. We’ll get down to the houses, we’ll take care of those and try to see what we need to do in the future.”

He also noticed how quickly the water moved. “The water has come up probably 3 foot since 8 o’clock this morning here behind the library.”

It was a group effort to deal with it. “I appreciate everyone from the community come out and helping us. It’s a whole effort from the community not just us,” Weidenhamer said.

“We had youth. We had elderly people that were holding the bags. People just come together and help one another especially here in Paulding County,” Bohn said.

The work will continue with the reminder everyone has likely heard before. “Turn around, don’t drown. We’ve been fortunate to not having any water rescues like we have in the past so please heed that warning and everyone will stay safe,” Bohn said.

The sandbags are free and you can pick them up at the engineer office. That address is 801 W Wayne St, Paulding, OH 45879. The phone number is (419) 399-2433. You can also contact the Red Cross at 419-238-9977.