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First fatality in mass Vermont flooding as man drowns in his own home

State has suffered days of severe rain and flooding

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 14 July 2023 12:22 BST
Life-threatening flash flooding sweeps through Vermont

A 63-year-old is the first confirmed fatality in the mass floods that have swept across Vermont this week.

Stephen Davoll, 63, of Barre City, died in a flooding accident in his home, according to the Vermont Department of Health. The agency didn’t offer additional details about how he died.

The state is digging out after days of severe rains and flooding that caused widespread damage.

This image made from drone footage provided by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets shows flooding in Montpelier

Over 200 rescues and 100 evacuations have occured this week as a result of the extreme weather, according to Vermont Emergency Management.

Davoll lived a block away from Stevens Branch, a tributary of the Winooski River, Vermont Digger reports.

Barre City has been covered in a layer of thick mud since flood waters receded.

The city suffered some of the worst damage in the state, submerging cars and swamping buildings.

On Wednesday, FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell surveyed the damage from above, as did other officials from Washington, which has declared the floods a federal disaster, meaning the government will largely pay for emergency protective measures.

US Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders said the damage in Barre City was “an incredible sight” during the visit.

“I’ve never seen a street filled with mud in the way that this is,” he said as he comforted residents.

City manager Nicolas Storellicastro told WCAX he’s still concerned about landslides.

“They happen, it is hard to do anything about it. We can be proactive if something seems imminent, but right now our priority is getting to people who are trapped,” he said.

The city’s Barre City Auditorium is currently being used as a Red Cross shelter.

Leaders said the widespread damage in Vermont was a reminder about the need for investing in responding to the climate crisis.

“I have seen an increase in records being broken, records that have stood for decades or even a century,” US Representative Becca Balint said at a news conference on Wednesday. “We really need to start to better understand what it’s going to look like 10 or 20 years from now, so we can use our mitigation dollars to help reduce those impacts and help these systems be more resilient.”

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