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SEE VIDEO: Fenland hit by widespread flooding after deluge

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Hundreds of homes were flooded and left without power after rain lashed down on to Fenland.

Roads were also closed off and part of a riverbank collapsed when torrential rain and hail battered March, Chatteris and Wisbech.

March was the worst hit by the deluge and firefighters are estimated to have pumped out 11.5 million litres of water from properties and infrastructure in the March area.

Some residents were forced to go to rest centres to escape the floods and a number of stores in the town, including Tesco in Hostmoor Avenue, were forced to close their doors to shoppers after water seeped into buildings.

Firefighters worked around the clock to pump out the water to try to save homes and businesses.

Watch Commander Andy Powell, who, lives in the town, said it was devastating to see the community in despair.

He said: “We wanted to pump water from everybody’s houses but because of the number of incidents, we just couldn’t physically do it. We just pumped as much as we could.

“There was water everywhere so we also had to try and figure out where we could pump it to. Some houses we couldn’t help because there was just nowhere for it to go, so we had to start pumping the ditches and roads so we would then have somewhere for the water from the properties to drain to.

“It was also a tough time for some of the firefighters as not only were their friends and families affected, but while they were out serving their community, their own properties were being flooded.

“It was hard seeing how trashed some of the properties were getting from the water and sewage and I think this is going to have a lasting effect on the community. But we really do appreciate all the messages of thanks we’ve been given and the way the public looked after us during this terrible time. We are just doing our job but if people would like to show their thanks, it would be great if they could support our charity car wash on Saturday at March Tesco.”

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue received a total of 300 calls between 12.45pm on Friday and 8.30am Monday with 277 of these were between Friday lunchtime and 8.30am on Saturday.

At Tesco’s main store, shoppers were suddenly asked to leave after rain water leaked into some of the aisles.

Outside the store, the car park was under water within minutes and drivers were asked to leave carefully to avoid damage to their vehicles. A specialist clean-up team worked through the night to ensure the store was open at 9.20am on Saturday.

The nearby B&M store also closed, along with several other business in March town centre, as well as Somerfield supermarket in Chatteris.

There was also a dramatic moment when part of the river bank collapsed outside The Ship Inn in Nene Parade, March.

The road was closed between the Wigstones Bridge junction and High Street junction while highways engineers assessed damage caused by the landslip.

The George Campbell Leisure Centre in March was also forced to close when rain water caused part of the ceiling in the swimming pool spectator area to cave in, and water started bubbling up through the drains.

Several streets around the towns were also completely underwater, with the flooding reaching some people’s homes.

Flood water and raw sewage have damaged homes in Gold Street, including that of Malcolm Green.

He says his kitchen, front room, and bathroom were damaged. He said: “It came down so suddenly. I was trying to bail out the water with a bucket but in the end I just gave up. I didn’t stand a chance.”

At the height of the incident, 1,050 homes were left without power. The final two homes had power returned on Monday morning.

While Harecroft Road in Wisbech was closed on Friday after a dyke had flooded water onto the town’s cricket club.

Chairman Bob Burgess says a dedicated team of volunteers spent Saturday morning clearing the site of water to ensure two matches went ahead in the afternoon.

He said: “It was an incredible effort. People put in a lot of time and effort.”

Other areas affected were Manea, Whittlesey and Littleport

 

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