In what local officials are calling the worst flooding in town in at least 15 years, several homes are under water along the Housatonic River and at least five cars are floating downstream toward lower Valley towns today.
At least one three-family house is covered with water to the bottom of the second floor along Roosevelt Drive, or Route 34, and a Ford Mustang, three pickup trucks and a Jeep are floating with torrents of rain on the Housy.
Oxford Fire Chief Scott Pelletier said at least seven families will be displaced for at least a couple of days, and others have severely flooded basements. He said six homes have significant water rushing through them, but as of 12:30 p.m., it appeared as if they are probably not in danger of being washed away. He said the town's building inspector is looking at all of the houses.
"It's unfortunate, and we have tried to do the best we could, and we continue to do so," he said. "But with the significant snow, and then the significant rain, we knew we weren't going to be able to control anything."
If residents can take solace in one thing today, Pelletier said, thankfully, nobody was injured. Resident Scott Ames, who lives at 551 Roosevelt Drive, looked out at his backyard at his shed, which stands about six feet high and was almost completely under water Monday morning.
Ames has lived at the address since 1983 and said this is the worst flooding he's seen in 16 years.He believes he will be out of his house for at least a few weeks and will find another place to stay with his wife and three children, including a 2-month-old baby.
His basement is completely flooded, and his hot water heater and furnace are under water. He has flood insurance, but still expects to pay a significant price out of pocket. The last time his house was flooded in 2007, it cost him about $30,000 for repairs.
Still, he doesn't regret buying his home and doesn't necessarily want to live anywhere else.
"This is the price you pay for living on the river," he said. "You know this is going to happen once in a while, and the rest of the time you just enjoy the water."
While he and others along Roosevelt Drive attempt to find dry land, volunteer firefighters and Oxford police officers are doing all they can to help residents.
Pelletier said the fire department had already pumped out 15 basements as of 12:30 p.m., and expects to do more as the day goes on.