Small Army of Citizen Volunteers Work to Save Moose Lake

By KBJR News 1

July 2, 2012 Updated Jul 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM CDT

Moose Lake, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The "Flood of the Century" has caused destruction across thousands of square miles, but the focus Thursday was on the small town of Moose Lake

The town is cut off with no motorized access in or out of town. A third of the town is flooded and the sewer system has shut down. Yet a small army of citizen volunteers continues to soldier on.

"It feels like a whale is swallowing us, like we're swimming in an ocean," said Moose Lake City Council Member Kris Huse.

Huse says she's never seen her town in such distress.

As the water level continues to rise, more and more roads are being shut down, leaving only one way to get through town, and that's on foot. But for Huse, that wasn't enough.

"I feel like I have to save the town," she said.

One of the areas that was hit the hardest, was in Huses' own backyard, but that didn't stop her from spending her day helping other residents and laying down sandbags.

"Then we moved to the next to Market Place foods and by 11 o'clock, well, we ran out of dirt at 11 o'clock P.M."

Moose lake residents set aside concerns for their personal losses, focusing instead on the town, laying a record amount of sandbags.

"27,000 sandbags have been filled over this whole process, everyone has come together as a community for this tragic event," said Kady Kachinske, a Moose Lake resident.

The flood is massive, but help has come in even the smallest of sizes.

"It's heavier for me because I'm five," touted Preston Peterson. "I can't lift sandbags, but little heavy stuff, I can."

As water continues to flow into the town, the spirit of a community united overflows.

"It's important to help other people," Peterson said.

The Coast Guard airlifted stranded residents out of Moose Lake on Thursday

Emergency officials are continuing to monitor the situation as the flood waters rise.

The prison in Moose Lake secure, but the inmates will be using "porta potties" for awhile.

Moose Lake officials say the city's sewer system has shut down due to flooding. According to John Schadl with the Minnesota Department of corrections the prison has discontinued laundry services, stopped showers for inmates and has brought in porta-potties.

Despite rumors, Schadl says there are no plans to evacuate prisons.
There are approximately one thousand men housed at the prison.

While the town of Moose Lake is cut off to motorists, the I-35 on and off ramps on the south side of town are open and access to and from the prison is available.