Flood damage hits home for state patrol

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The recent flood didn't just impact homes and businesses, but also some of our first responders.

Two NSP cruisers were destroyed in the flood. Water went all the way up to the door, and seeped inside. Total loss for both vehicles is $92,000. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

The Nebraska State Patrol's Kearney office flooded with two feet of water last week. It went past the electrical outlets. Most of the water flowed right through the front door.

The water ruined their office. They had to tear out the carpet. All of their office furniture was destroyed, along with some paper documents and files. Luckily, most of that is digitized.

"After we noticed that the floodwaters rose so rapidly, then our concern became not only evacuating the civilians, but getting the troopers out to safety," said Capt. Russell Lewis, Nebraska State Patrol Troop C.

The flooding also destroyed two of their cruisers. The water went all the way up to the doors. It got inside the vehicles, and ruined their electronic equipment. Total loss on both cruisers is $92,000.

The troopers weren't even aware their office flooded at first. They were too busy helping everyone else.

"Our first priority was with the civilians. Evacuation of the civilians. The trooper's minds weren't on their vehicles at that time. Their priority was rescuing civilians from local businesses and the hotels," Capt. Lewis said.

Although they can't use their Kearney office right now, the 13 troopers who work there are still hard at work. Right now, they're using space at UNK and Kearney Police Department.

"We've certainly used their assets in the past. We've worked out of each other's office, and they're no strangers to ours. So it was a good fit. Our house is kind of their house, and we certainly invite them to work out of here as much as they can," said Lt. Kevin Thompson, Kearney Police Department.

The electricity is back on in NSP's Kearney office, but there's still no air conditioning or hot water.

Capt. Lewis said it'll be about a month before they can go back to the office. He said it'll be another month on top of that before things are back to normal. Until then, they'll continue to work out of UNK and Kearney Police Department.

They'll need to have the insulation and dry wall replaced, along with the carpet and new office furniture. The NSP cruisers will also have to be replaced.

"Flood waters is not something that we typically deal with, but hopefully they just learn about the dangers of floodwater and how important it is, and how fast and quickly things can change," Capt Lewis said.

At this time, NSP doesn't know how much all the damages will cost them.