Reservoir Washes Away Homes, Cars

1 decade 2 years 9 months ago Wednesday, April 05 2006 Apr 5, 2006 Wednesday, April 05, 2006 1:06:41 PM CDT April 05, 2006 in News
The discovery came hours after water broke through a hydroelectric plant's reservoir. As many as four people are hospitalized after a southeast Missouri reservoir broke, washing away a number of homes and vehicles. Three children were being transported to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis with critical injuries. Spokesman Bob Davidson did not have the names of the children but said a seven-month-old was suffering from hypothermia, and a three-year-old and five-year-old had breathing problems. Davidson could not confirm if the children were family members of Jerry Toops, superintendent of Johnson Shut-Ins State Park near the base of the plant. Governor Matt Blunt said members of the Toops family were hospitalized after the water swamped their home. Authorities say homes and vehicles were washed away, and that conditions along the Black River were considered dangerous. The plant is in the Ozarks, 120 miles southwest of St. Louis. Highway patrol Sergeant Marty Elmore said earlier today, "The Lesterville area and areas south along the Black River are in extreme peril." Elmore said there were no confirmed deaths. Rescuers searched for people believed to be trapped in cars, especially near the reservoir. A house, a mobile home, several cars and a tractor-trailer are reported washed away. St. Louis-based utility AmerenUE said the breach is at the northwest corner of the reservoir that holds back 1.2 billion gallons of water from the Black River. The plant has four chief features, the upper reservoir atop Proffit Mountain, a 7,000 foot long shaft and tunnel, a powerhouse with two reversible pump turbine units and a lower reservoir formed by a dam across the Black River's east fork. The breach occurred at the upper reservoir. Charles Morris is a dam and hydro power expert at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He said the Taum Sauk facility is one of the few of its kind in the world. Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will investigate the cause of the breach. She lauded the fast response to remove residents from harm's way.

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