Burlington barrier breaks on south end of the Hesco wall, sneaking up on city

BURLINGTON, Iowa – The mighty Mississippi is making her name known once again.  Waterfalls on the streets of downtown Burlington now seeing water surround the building of Frank Millard and Company off Valley Street.

“That’s the problem with these HESCO Barriers,” says the building’s owner, Mac Coffin. “One breaches, you know, and that’s all it takes.”

His building’s surveillance cameras captured flood waters filling the streets in minutes and forcing company workers to scramble keeping their cares safe from the rising waters.

“It was unexpected but it’s not like it was life or death,” says Coffin.

The breach happened on the south temporary wall and snuck up from behind.

“Never, no no,” Coffin says. “Should’ve been the north.  That’s what we thought, and I think that’s what everyone thought.”

In the weeks leading up to the flood, the city focused on the north end of the barriers where the river’s current smashed against the flood wall head-on. But the south end wasn’t top of mind.

“The river usually wins which is sad,” says Heidi Brown, a flood onlooker. “As hard as they worked it’s just sad for us.”

Now, they are dealing with what many businesses owners saw in downtown Davenport.

“There was no water in there 3 hours ago,” says Coffin, in regard to his building’s basement – water now filled to the top step.

“It feels like it felt before we had the flood wall,” says Coffin.

No one know when the Mississippi will strike next or where it’ll sneak up when you least expect it.

“Somewhere along the river someone is going to be affected and today it is us,” says Brown.

The Assistant City Manager for Burlington Public Works says a major concern is the flooding at the Market Street Sanitary Lift Station.  It’s started to create backups along the sewer line.

‘It’s a shame how this gave, but I remind people again that we were asking sand to hold back the mighty Mississippi River, and they don’t call it the mighty Mississippi River for nothing,” says Burlington Mayor Shane McCampbell.  “It’s pretty strong, and it prevailed in this situation against us.”

The city says they are waiting for the water to recede before they begin clean-up.

The believe the south end breached due to the excess rain in May.

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