Flooding mayhem

Fire crews working on Blackbrook Road in St Helens
Fire crews working on Blackbrook Road in St Helens

TEN people had to be rescued from their homes on inflatable rafts after torrential rain caused the Sankey Canal to burst its banks.

Firefighters were called out shortly before 4.30pm on Monday (September 24) after 10 residents - including two elderly women and an elderly man - were left stranded by rising flood water.

Crews also rescued a cat and a dog, completing the final rescue at about 7.30pm. Fortunately, there were no reports of any injuries.

At its height, amid persistent heavy downpours, about a foot of flood water had accumulated at the junction of Blackbrook Road and West End Road - near the Ship Inn.

Two of the evacuated families were later given temporary overnight accommodation by St Helens Council.

Fire station manager Steve Pratt said: “Flood water had entered the ground floor of a number of properties in Blackbrook Road.

“So I requested the Search and Rescue Team to use their rigid inflatable boats to effect the rescue. The people were brought to dry land and safety. They were then handed over to the local authority to take them to other properties.”

He added: “Outside the properties, the water was up to a foot deep. There was also a concern of a gas leak in the area as there was a smell of gas. We requested the National Grid to attend.”

Elsewhere, firefighters had to push a car to safety after its engine cut out while travelling through a notorious flood spot on Peasley Cross Lane.

Wearing water rescue kit, crews waded into the flood and pushed the car - which had a 70-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman inside - to safety shortly after 2.30pm.

Watch manager Jim Brammeier, of St Helens Community Fire Station, said: “The water was around three feet deep. Firefighters wearing water rescue kit managed to move the car to safety and the occupants were unharmed.”

It was the second time a rescue had taken place at the same spot in a matter of weeks.

On August 21 a woman had to be rescued from the roof of her car after her vehicle became almost fully submerged in flood water at the same location.

Peasley Cross Lane remained shut yesterday (Tuesday), along with College Street, Islands Brow, Burrows Lane and Watery Lane.