Residents, businesses sue dam operator over ruinous flooding

By Corey Williams, Associated Press

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (AP) — Residents and businesses in Central Michigan communities that were submerged when two dams failed this week on Friday sued the operator of the dams and two state agencies charged with overseeing the structures.

The lawsuit came as yet more residents were forced to evacuate their homes after being overwhelmed by flooding along the Tittabawassee River and conjoining waterways.

About a dozen people have left their homes in Spaulding Township where some roads and fields are under 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) of floodwater, but some in the community refused to leave despite warnings, Fire Chief Tom Fortier said Friday.

Water stood 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 1 meter) deep in some houses, Fortier said.

The Tittabawassee became engorged late Tuesday when the aging Edenville and Sanford dams failed after heavy rain. The river crested Wednesday in Midland — about 20 miles (32 kilometers) upstream from Spaulding Township — leaving the small city and surrounding areas under several feet of water and forcing about 11,000 people to evacuate their homes.

President Donald Trump declared an emergency Thursday.

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