Liz Holliday

Communications Specialist

Heavy rain, rising waters damage Gilboa man’s property

GILBOA, N.Y. – A home in Schoharie County was severely damaged by heavy rain and rising creek waters Wednesday night.

“I’ve seen a lot, but this was probably one of the most miserable nights I’ve had,” Fred Oakley said.

Oakley is a disabled veteran who survived two tours in Vietnam, but he said his rescue due to rising waters Wednesday night from his Gilboa home was the worst.

“Oh, the worst,” he said. “Irene and the other hurricane was nothing like this.”

Oakley said not only was his street washed out but also the bridge that is his only way home.

“Water was coming underneath the trailer from the backside to the front side,” he described.

Oakley said Second Assistant Fire Chief John Ernst found a back way to his washed out property leaving a half-mile hike and then an ATV ride to safety.

“When we showed up, his whole trailer was completely surrounded by at least two or three feet of raging water,” Ernst said.

The bridge wasn’t the only piece of property affected. Residents all along South Gilboa Road suffered damage.

“Well, it wasn’t good, but Mother Nature – you can’t fight it,” resident John Standhart said. “You just have to take what it is.”

Oakley said he doesn’t have the $30,000 it will take to fix the bridge, and after 19 years, he and his wife are thinking they may need to find a new place to live.

“When we can get trucks in here and get the furniture and stuff out its going to go up for sale, and we’re going to move,” he said.

Oakley said he put a call in to his county commissioner who is sending out a few people to look at the bridge in the next few days to try and help.

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