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Monday
Dec272010

Blizzard Causes Severe Flooding, Evacuations and Fires in Cape Cod Coastal Town

Photo Courtesy- Getty Images(SCITUATE, Mass.) -- In the Cape Cod coastal town of Scituate, Mass., the East Coast blizzard has caused the ocean water level to rise, leading to severe flooding, evacuations, and fires.

Ocean water rushed in when a portion of the seawall collapsed on Scituate's Oceanside Drive. Flooding has reached about 100 yards of the town, and at some areas the water was eight feet deep.

Two homes on Seventh Avenue caught on fire and were destroyed. "We've had a couple of house fires we couldn't get to because the ocean has flooded in between the houses," said Department of Public Works Director Al Bangert. "Firemen went out with fire extinguishers in a rescue boat used more to rescue people in the water than fight fires. They couldn't stop the fires, but they rescued a man stranded in a nearby house."

Everyone inside the homes was safely evacuated. The National Guard is trying to rescue people from other houses that are under water. Lighthouse Point, which has about 80 houses on it, was evacuated.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter in Scituate High School where hundreds of evacuees from Lighthouse Point and Oceanside Drive are now staying.

Officials fear the flooding might cause the sewage system to back up.

"We have a sewer pump station that's not accessible to us right now, so were trying to get to that to see what's going on. It's a pretty substantial pumping system, and if it's not working, sewage backs up," Bangert told ABC News.

Scituate has suffered the worst from the storm among the coastal towns and faces the most danger from high flood waters, said Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, according to the Boston Globe.

"Scituate seems to be in the bull's eye,'' said Judge.

"The snow has stopped but we're still looking at some coastal flooding impact from the high tide from about 3 to 5 tonight. The winds have shifted so we don't expect the coastal flooding to be as severe as this morning's high tide cycle, but there may still be some impact," Scott MacLeod, a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesperson, told ABC News.

"With any kind of coastal flooding there's potential for impact to public utility, like sewer water and infrastructure, but until the flood waters have a chance to recede it's premature to say what steps will need to be taken," said MacLeod.

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