London Mills starts clean up after flood

By WEEK Producer

April 24, 2013 Updated Apr 24, 2013 at 7:14 PM CDT

LONDON MILLS, Ill -- Students from Spoon River Valley High School skipped class Wednesday. But they weren't playing hooky.

Instead, they were all in London Mills helping with clean up and recovery efforts now that flood waters there have receded.

"It took a lot of people's homes and everything they own," said sophomore Cordell Ogelsby. "Everybody at the school, we all have friends down here. Some people have family. Its one of those things where its just a great community help."

Other helped in their own way. Some people delivered food to First United Methodist Church on Plato Street, which has been turned into a make-shift community center. Meals are being served there. And there's also clothing, cleaning supplies and water for those who need it.

The church will likely be a hub for a while, until the extent of the damage can be determined.

"We're presently working with IEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, to do damage assessment and decide where we're going to go from there," explained London Mills Police Chief Scott Keithley.

A few days ago the only way to access some homes in London Mills was by boat. There are 165 homes in London Mills. Forty-four of them, one-quarter, sustained significant damage.

Resident Jay Hammond lost most of the front wall of his foundation. His basement is still full of water.

"I've got about 6-feet of water in the basement that I'm trying to pump out now so I can get power and get some jacks under the house before it decides to fall down," Hammond said.

Walk down any street and people tell similar stories. But Chief Keithley says some homes are damaged so badly they'll have to be torn down.