Cork suburb badly hit by overnight flooding

Cork City Council officials believe blocked culvert caused flash flood in Blackpool

Flooding in the main street of Blackpool, Cork last night. Photograph: Stephen Spillane via Twitter

Flooding in the main street of Blackpool, Cork last night. Photograph: Stephen Spillane via Twitter

Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 09:01

Business owners and homeowners in the Cork suburb of Blackpool are this morning counting the cost of a second major flash flood in less than a year.

Cork City Council officials believe a blocked culvert on the River Bride caused waters to overflow through the Orchard Court area and down into the centre of the village on the northside of the city.

After 9pm last night, over one metre of water filled the main street.

Council manager Tim Lucey said this morning the culvert had been inspected at 4pm and 7pm last night and was clear. Later on in the evening “a level of debris” blocked the culvert screen and caused the flooding.

Cork City Fire Brigade responded and sent a rescue unit and two pump units as well as a control unit to the scene, with some 24 personnel working to prevent flood waters from causing further damage to premises.

Gerry Myers of Cork City Fire Brigade said when flood waters began to rise at about 9pm, Cork City Council responded with a clearance team.

A digger was used to clear the culvert around 9.30pm and a tractor tyre along with a tangled mass of vegetation which had blocked the culvert were removed and flood waters began to abate at around 10.45pm.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Mr Lucey said the incident was “very localised” and Blackpool was now “getting back to normal”. He also said the flooding was the second such incident in the area in nine months and the council was awaiting the appointment of a consultant by the Office of Public Works to assess the culvert. Last June, the rain event was “quite unprecendented”, Mr Lucey said, and once last night’s rainfall is assessed, the council will have a better idea of what happened.

According to Mr Myers, some 15 premises in Blackpool were affected, but business owners responded quickly and put up flood defences and managed to keep flood levels in their premises down.

"We had four feet of water here in the centre of Blackpool village affecting the off-licence, Centra, the chemist, the Berehaven Bar and the Coffee Pot - about 15 premises in all were under water," said Mr Myers. "They were quick to get their flood defences up and maybe nine inches of water penetrated the premises but we had two people trapped in O'Donovan's off-licence who had to wait for the flood waters to subside."

Mr Myers said firefighters used suction hoses to get water levels down and flood waters began to subside at about 10.45pm but by then considerable damage had been caused to a number of premises in the village.

Local laundrette owner Tim O'Brien told Cork's 96FM that it had been another nightmare for traders, coming less than a year after a similar flash flood caused devastation in the village last June. "It's devastation - we're probably some bit lucky in that Ger Buckley in the Centra Shop was still opened and he was able to contact a number of traders in the area so we were able to get down and get our flood barriers up.

"Unfortunately, the tide was too far up for the chemist by the time he got in - his premises seemed to be under about four feet of water again - at the highest point around the chemist and the Centra, it was about four feet high again."

Caroline Kelleher, who was working in O'Donovan's off-licence at the bridge in Blackpool, told Cork's 96 FM that the flood waters rose dramatically in the space of a just a few minutes. "It all happened very quickly - the man who owns The Coffee Pot cafe came over and told us to put up our barriers and when we looked out, the water was starting to flood - within the space of five minutes, the water was gushing out,” she said.

"We ended up out in the back store - it came out as far as the door - we saved as much as we could but it all happened so fast," said Ms Kelleher, who was trapped with a work colleague in the premises for over an hour before flood waters abated.