Knoxville borough declared a state of disaster emergency today, Aug. 19, after heavy rain slammed the valley last night.

“The declaration has been signed specifically for the flood damage,” said a post on the borough’s Facebook page, which added that the Department of Environmental Protection confirmed Knoxville’s drinking water is safe.

The borough asked that residents report flood damage to the office at 814-326-4126 or by private messaging the Facebook page. If there’s no answer at the office, leave a message and the borough will make contact to complete documentation.

The Knoxville-Deerfield Volunteer Fire Company is assisting residents impacted by flooding. At the fire station Thursday afternoon, volunteers handed out bottled water, food and cleaning supplies.

“Lots of businesses and community members have been bringing in water and supplies,” said one volunteer. “The Red Cross is here helping people in need as well.”

Assistant Chief Mike Bloom said the department responded to three water rescues on Route 249, Deerfield Township; Merrick Road, Deerfield Township; and Route 49 in the area of the Valley Ambulance building, Osceola Township.

“Two of those, the only way to get them out was by boat,” Bloom told this newspaper. “We were assisted by Wellsboro Fire Department, which brought their boat. They deserve credit. They saved those people.”

Bloom said Crary Hose Company out of Westfield also assisted Knoxville-Deerfield with flooding-related incidents and evacuating several residents from their homes. 

“We housed at least 15 people in our upstairs banquet hall last night, and some are still there,” he said. “Right now, we’re just assessing damage and assisting anyone we can.”

The department is looking for anyone with spare sub pumps/trash pumps who is willing to help pump out basements. If available, stop at the fire station and volunteers will direct you to addresses needing assistance.

For assistance, call the fire station at 570-326-4167. Bloom reminded that residents should call 911 in emergencies.  

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