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Bolton residents allowed home to assess damage after major flooding forces evacuation

Last Updated Mar 16, 2019 at 5:31 pm EDT

85 homes and up to 150 people have been evacuated due to flooding in Bolton. CITYNEWS/Sean Cowan

Bolton residents forced to leave their homes after major flooding Friday night will now be allowed to go back to assess the damage.

Emergency personnel will be escorting residents to their homes and depending on the damage, some homes may be released back to the owners, the Town of Caledon said on Twitter Saturday afternoon. Residents are being asked to check in at the emergency command post at King Street and Humberlea Road before going to their homes.

Up to 85 homes were evacuated after ice jams caused the Humber River to breach its banks around 7 p.m. Friday. The flood submerged parts of the downtown area, affecting between 200 and 300 people.

As many as 30 homes appear to have been directly affected by the flooding.

The recent warm temperatures coupled with the heavy rainfall is being blamed for the flooding. It has also prompted flood warnings for areas near the Grand River.

Caledon OPP blocked off King Street, the main downtown artery, from Queen Street to the Caledon- King Townline Road.

“This is still an emergency zone” said Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson, who added crews would be working through the night to deal with the ice on the river.

By 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the floodwater had receded and officials were hopefully most residents would be able to return home.

A temporary evacuation centre remains open at the Caledon Centre for Recreation and Wellness. Officials say about 20 people attended the centre but many opted to stay with friends and family. The local Hampton Inn also housed residents at its own expense to give back to the community, Thompson said.

The mayor also addressed concerns that officials should have done more to mitigate the potential of flooding.

“This wasn’t a problem area,” he said. “Yesterday morning, nothing looked like it was going to be a problem. It wasn’t until 7 p.m. last night when everything started to get caught up in the trees on the river banks and around the bridge structures and it started to pile up. This is what created the flooding.”