Dam holds back the waters...for now

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

WOOD COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - In Wood County, residents evacuated their homes near Highway 37 and County Road 2330 after water breached the Victory Lake dam. Emergency crews responded around noon.

Jack Vail bought his land three years ago. The main attraction? Victory Lake and its 30-year-old dam. But, the excessive rain has put Vail's lake and dam in jeopardy.

"My wife and I were looking for a horse farm for retirement, so hopefully we aren't going to lose the lake or cause any more damage to its infrastructure," said Vail.

He says a pipe runs into the pond and if water gets too high, it drains the lake. But, he says the pipe has been clogged, and he has tried to clear it for the past year.

"About 10 days ago, we cleared out the spill way, but with all of the rain that we have had in the last two or three weeks, there is no place for the water to go," said Vail.

And, if the dam breaks, the only place the water can go is nearby roads and homes. Neighbors said water started spilling over the dam around 7am Tuesday. Emergency crews arrived around noon.

"We've kind of got it contained," said Jeff Morris, Quitman's Assistant Fire Chief. "We've got more help coming."

By the end of the afternoon, sand bags and railroad ties were put on top of the damn in hopes to stop the water. Vail says it's the support of the community that keeps his spirits alive.

"That is one of the things I like about East Texas," said Vail. "When you are in trouble, someone is going to help you out."

For now, the dam remains intact as water continues to rain down. Late Tuesday afternoon, emergency crews said they think they had put enough support around the dam to keep it from breaking.

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