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Wilmington residents evacuate as 7-mile ice jam breaks up in river

A woman and her dog were rescued Tuesday morning in Wilmington, as floodwaters surrounded her residence.

Officials with the city of Wilmington and the Will County Emergency Management Agency have continued to monitor possible flooding along the Kankakee River after a 7-mile ice jam formed in the body of water last week.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday for west central Will County and northeastern Grundy County, as the ice broke up.

Wilmington police received a call about 12:45 a.m. Tuesday from a resident of North Readman Lane. A male resident reported a relative still was in a home surrounded by 2 feet of water. Wilmington fire, Wilmington ESDA, and the Will County Sheriff’s Office then responded for a welfare check of a woman and dog in the residence.

When officials arrived, first responders spoke with the relative, who said the woman did not initially want to evacuate, but conditions had worsened. Because she was not able to be reached by phone, Wilmington ESDA and Wilmington fire water rescue personnel entered the water and spoke with the woman.

Rescue personnel were able to convince her to evacuate with her dog, as the water continued to rise.

Wilmington resident Molly Votta lives on Kelley Road and couldn’t get to her house Wednesday. She’s staying at her daughter’s home in Essex for the time being. She said this isn’t the first time she’s seen flooding, and the last time her home was damaged beyond repair.

“I’ve just been a nervous wreck,” Votta said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, she said she had not gotten word of when she’d be able to return.

Emergency personnel were on-hand Wednesday to help the residents of Phelan Acres in Wilmington evacuate. Residents were advised to leave their homes until the rising water and ice pass through and should plan to be out of their homes for several days.

Roads were closed along the river in the Phelan Acres subdivision, and houses on Cottage Road had been evacuated.

The intersections of Cottage and Lorenzo roads, Will Road and Willow Lane, Blodgett and Kelly roads, Will and Lorenzo roads, and Will and Cottage roads also were closed.

Once the water recedes, utilities in the area will have to be checked and restored. The flood warning lasted until 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents seeking updated information should call 815-724-1617.

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