Merritt fire truck had to be towed from floodwaters Monday night

Fire truck stuck in flood

UPDATE: 3:34 p.m.

A Merritt Fire Rescue fire truck had to be towed from floodwaters on Monday night.

Merritt Fire Chief Dave Tomkinson told Castanet crews were responding to a rescue call at about 8:30 p.m. when the vehicle became inoperable.

Tomkinson said water got into the truck’s intake, which caused it to stall.

The people in need of rescue made it out safely, and Tomkinson said the truck is undergoing repairs but should be back in action soon.

The City of Merritt remains under evacuation order due to flooding. The Coldwater River spilled its banks on Sunday night, and floodwaters have taken out one of three bridges in the city, as well as Merritt’s wastewater treatment capabilities.

On Tuesday, the City of Merritt told residents they should expect to remain on evacuation order for a week or more.

UPDATE: 12:42 p.m.

One of three bridges spanning the Coldwater River in Merritt collapsed overnight, and city officials have now ordered the remaining two closed pending engineering assessments.

Greg Lowis, the City of Merritt’s emergency operations centre head, said the assessments cannot be completed until the waters recede.

“We are not confident at this point in the structural integrity of our remaining two bridges,” he told Castanet.

“We were hoping that the bridges would make it. We weren’t expecting they would fail, but we knew it was a possibility.”

The bridge that collapsed was the Middlesboro Bridge, which is part of Voght Street.

Lowis said the loss of the bridges leaves the community of Collettville completely cut off from the rest of Merritt. Some residents who refused to evacuate remain stranded in Collettville.

Lowis said the city has told those residents to shelter in place. As of Tuesday, he said there is no way to get supplies or people across the river.

“At this point, there is no way to cross the Coldwater River in Merritt,” he said.

ORIGINAL STORY: 11:13 a.m.

Despite easing floodwaters, evacuees from Merritt are being told their city will likely remain empty for more than a week.

In an update posted to social media on Tuesday morning, the City of Merritt provided residents an updated timeline.

“We anticipate this evacuation order will remain in place for likely more than a week,” the update stated.

“Although the floodwaters have rescinded, there is still significant danger and damage that is being caused by the flooding.”

Merritt was placed on evacuation order at about 10 a.m. on Monday after the Coldwater River spilled its banks following intense rainfall that began on Sunday.

Evacuees were told to find a place to stay with friends or family. Those unable to do so were sent to reception centres in Kamloops and Kelowna.

The City of Merritt said in the update Tuesday that it will keep its residents informed as more becomes known.

“As new discoveries unfold, we will continue to inform our residents on the status of their community,” it said.

Police and some city crews remain on scene in Merritt, as well as some residents who refused to evacuate. The city was barricaded and closed at 4 p.m. on Monday.

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