Leaders meet to discuss dam failure

Hope Mills Lake

June 21, 2010 8:30:56 PM PDT
Leaders in Hope Mills met for the first time Monday since a dam failure caused Hope Mills Lake to drain dry last week. The 88 acre lake drained dry Wednesday night after engineers say a vinyl liner ruptured allowing water to gush underneath the dam, undermining the $14 million structure.

Some preliminary pictures from Chopper 11HD shows buckled and broken concrete near one wall support that is part of the bridge over the dam.

"I think the damage is all the way from the front of the head wall to the creek at the very end," Town Commissioner Tonzie Collins said.

On Monday night, town leaders gave their approval for engineers to examine the Hope Mills Lake dam and the damage to it.

"A foremost of our concerns is public safety and stability of the structure," Hope Mills Mayor Eddie Deese said. "Hopefully we will get a fence up for safety reasons and do some work to get underneath there, to see what needs to be done."

Residents also weighed in at Monday's meeting, peppering town leaders with questions of why, when, and who's to blame. Town leaders told the crowd the answers will come in time, but many residents say they are already feeling impatient with the process.

"The kids were coming back to the lake we were out boating things were becoming along fine and then all of a sudden we look out and everything gets washed away overnight, it's really depressing," resident Lisa Waring said.

"I don't think we can blame them for not saying a whole lot right now till all the facts are coming in they want to be able to tell us like it is when they find out," resident Mike Mitchell said.

In the meantime, a chain link fence will replace the tape barrier at the lake in the next few days.

Town leaders say they hope engineers can begin examining the dam immediately.

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