Fatal flood waters wash away chunks of downtown Laurinburg

September 17, 2018

Floodwater washed an SUV off a road in Scotland County. The driver, who tried to escape, was killed.

One man was killed in Scotland County Monday when his car was washed away by floodwaters in Scotland County.

The county’s water system was knocked out of service Monday morning, leaving county crews scrambling to make extensive repairs and restore service. Even with service restored, the county warned residents to boil water for a full minute before consuming any of it, whether for drinking, cooking, washing dishes or brushing teeth.

That advisory was to remain in effect until further notice from the county.

On Sunday, the rain from Hurricane Florence threatened to overwhelm two of the counties dams -- at Richmond Mill Pond and Fair Lakes. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for those areas and the neighborhoods below -- reaching from Laurel Hill as far south as the South Carolina border.

The Richmond Mill Pond dam did breach Monday morning bringing water up to U.S. 74, which was one of many roads in the county that were closed due to flooding.

A swift-water rescue team from Raleigh recovered the body of a man in his 60s who was believed to have drowned when his car was washed away by floodwaters.

Capt. Kevin Ellsworth, a Raleigh firefighter, said it looked like the man had tried to escape from the car, as the window was partially lowered. But he pointed out that the water could have shorted out the car’s electric windows, and the water pressure would have kept him from opening the door.

A section of Main Downtown Laurinburg, Main Street had washed out, the rushing water crossing the street and collapsing walls of businesses.

As many as 20 roads were closed in the county, including at times parts of U.S. 401 and U.S. 74.

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