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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Maine Warden Service Aids in Evacuations in Northern Maine

Maine Warden Service Aids in Evacuations in Northern Maine


April 30, 2008

4:00 PM


The following information has been released by the Maine Warden Service:

AUGUSTA – The Maine Warden Service is working alongside the Washburn Fire Department and the Washburn Police Department to evacuate people down stream from two dams that are in danger of breaching.

A plugged culvert on an earthen dam, known in town as the upper dam, is forcing water over the dam, according to Warden Sgt. Tom Ward. About one-third of the dam is breached and there is concern the rest of the dam may give way thus impacting a 15-foot cement dam down stream. Cracks are appearing in the cement dam.

“There’s a good chance the earthen dam is going to breach, and if it breaches there’s a good chance the lower dam is going to breach,” Sgt. Tom Ward said.

Flash flood warnings for Washburn have been issued by the National Weather Service in Caribou.

The Washburn evacuation is among numerous aid events that have been under way in the last two days by the Maine Warden Service and other first responders from local and state agencies. Warden Lt. Pat Dorian, who is coordinating all of the Warden Service operations, said that while a few people have needed rescue assistance, the people of northern Maine were well prepared to handle the floods.

There have been no reports of major injuries or fatalities.

“The National Weather Service in Caribou and the United States Geological Survey did a great job telling people what to expect in terms of flooding and where to expect flooding to occur,” Lt. Dorian said. “We’ve had no where near the volume of incidents given all of the water that is covering the area and the number of roads that have washed out.”

Lt. Dorian credits northern Mainers for listening to the warnings.

“The people of northern Maine are self sufficient and have a lot of common sense,” Lt. Dorian said. “This year they experienced record-breaking snow and you didn’t hear them complain about it. Now they’re experiencing record-breaking flooding and they’re prepared to handle it. They’ve taken it on the chin and yet they keep plugging along.”

Twenty-five wardens are deployed in northern Aroostook County, and they are using six 18-foot boats, two airboats, one jet boat and one fixed-wing airplane.

Among the rescues that took place today (April 30):

  • At 10:20 a.m., an elderly couple who lives at Soldier Pond was rescued by wardens using a tractor. The husband and wife each use oxygen tanks to assist their breathing. Wardens Chad Abbott and Brad Richard put the couple and their tanks in the bucket of the tractor and carried them across high water.

  • At 10:55 a.m., Wardens Jeff Spencer and Ryan Fitzpatrick took heart medication to an elderly lady in St. John. She had run out of medication. The wardens had to use the Heritage Trail to get to her. A potato farmer with a bucket loader and a logging contractor helped to clear the trail. The wardens used a chainsaw and an ax to remove a large tree from the way.

  • At 11:45 a.m., Wardens Jim Martin and Ed Christie rescued an elderly woman in St. Agatha whose house was threatened by rising water. Her husband had been transported to Northern Maine Medical Center the day before and she was alone. They gave the lady a ride to St. David to stay with friends.



Deborah Turcotte, IFW Spokesperson


Last update: 07/20/10