Not all London Mills flood victims willing to evacuate

By WEEK Producer

April 19, 2013 Updated Apr 19, 2013 at 9:17 PM CDT

LONDON MILLS, Ill. -- Come hell or high water. Some residents of London Mills have both.

Gerald Roe was retrieving valuables from his home Friday morning. He's lived here since 1956 and says it's the worst he's ever seen it.

"I can step out of my kitchen to the platform about 8 inches down and then one step and I got water," Roe said. "So we took our furnace out and moved some stuff up from the basement and it didn't help."

According to London Mills' police chief about 60-percent of the village's roughly 500 residents have been evacuated. But not all of them have gone willingly.

Police and EMT's had to meet to discuss how to convince one elderly resident who was refusing to leave his home.

"We're going down right now to see if we can get him to go because he's almost out of oxygen," explained Tamara Anderson, London Mills' ambulance coordinator.

Sadly there are some residents who have evacuated their homes who may never be able to go back.

"There are some houses that are probably going to be a total loss," said London Mills Police Chief Scott Keithley.

Meanwhile, Fulton County's assistant director of emergency services is monitoring river levels.

"Our concern is that with all the rain we've had keeping an eye on the levees," said John Lund. "The residents who have stayed we make sure we check on them and mMake sure they get food and water."

A few miles away volunteers were preparing the Spoon River Valley High School library as an overnight shelter. Athletic equipment is being used as beds.

"Track mats that they dragged in. They set them up for cots in the library," said volunteer Julie Wasson.

Other evacuated residents are finding shelter at St. Mary's Gymnasium in Canton.