Published 11:07 am Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Franklin Furnace woman was killed early Wednesday by flood waters that continue to cause havoc across the region.

Early Wednesday morning Green Township Fire Department and EMS pulled the body of Barbara J. Botkins of Disterdick Lane, Franklin Furnace, from the raging waters.

The Botkins family had taken shelter on the top of a vehicle when the 53-year-old woman was swept away. The family had tried to reach higher ground when the rising waters came up suddenly.

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The heavy rains forced many from their homes and motorists had to scramble to find another way to work after a landslide closed part of State Route 7 in Chesapeake.

In Lawrence County, fire department crews performed several water rescues near South Point.

“All over the county, it was bad everywhere,” said Sgt. J. P. Kisor of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Kisor said fire departments rescued residents from houses in South Point late Tuesday night.

“(They were) running boats and getting people out of houses,” Kisor said.

Chesapeake firefighter Ed Webb was involved in the water rescues but needed rescuing himself.

The assistant fire chief was at Solida Road to assist the Burlington-Fayette fire department on a water rescue when he got a phone call from his wife that water was coming into his Brentwood Village home.

“It started coming in through the walls,” Webb said.

There was enough backup so Webb could return to his house and start shop vacuuming out water.

“I sucked up water all night,” he said. “My house ended up with multiple inches of water. Now it’s like deja vu. I am on the other side of the fence. Instead of being the helper, I need help.”

The westbound lanes of State Route 7 in Lawrence County are closed at the one-mile marker after the rains sent part of a hillside down onto the road.

Crews from the state transportation department closed both westbound lanes between U.S. Route 52 and State Route 527.

Motorists were detoured through the village of Chesapeake by way of County Road 1 and Charley Creek Road. The eastbound lanes remain open.

As of 8 a.m., State Route 93 near County Road 45, State Route 650 at County Road 43 and at State Route 522, and State Route 775 south of Mounts Branch Road and State Route 217 were closed due to high water, according to a press release from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

High water was also being reported at other locations on State Route 775 south of Scottown and on State Route 243 near Getaway.

In Ironton, the roadway at Storms Creek and Lawrence Street was closed due to high water, said Mike Pemberton, Ironton Streets Superintendent.

The emergency escape route that connects to the westbound lane on U.S. 52 has been opened.

Pemberton said there was also some yard flooding in North Ironton and probably some basement flooding.

“Any systems can’t handle that kind of rain,” Pemberton said.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning in Lawrence County for Wednesday.

The forecast calls for thunderstorms with heavy rainfall to continue today and this evening.