27 children rescued from Cobb day care after flash flooding

A firefighter removes a child from an Austell day care after heavy rain flooded the parking lot.

Credit: Cobb County Fire Department

Credit: Cobb County Fire Department

A firefighter removes a child from an Austell day care after heavy rain flooded the parking lot.

Nearly 30 children were evacuated from a flooded Cobb County day care on Thursday afternoon as heavy rain fell across metro Atlanta.

Cobb firefighters had to wade through knee-deep water as crews rescued 27 children and four adults from the Always Kids Child Care Center in Austell, officials said. The day care is located in the 1300 block of Anderson Road, a low-lying area prone to flooding after heavy storms.

A Cobb fire spokesman said the day care was “overcome with swift-moving floodwaters” after rain moved through the area about 4:30 p.m. Video posted to the department’s Twitter showed rainwater had filled the day care’s parking lot, rising above the tires of several vehicles parked outside.

A nearby drainage area was overwhelmed as a result of the storm, filling the parking lot and sending rainwater gushing through the day care facility, officials said.

“There were areas where the water was waist-deep for our rescuers,” Cobb fire spokesman Nicholas Danz told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For a preschooler, that’s over their head.”

Employees were unable to get out of the building because the pressure from the rising water pinned the door shut, Danz said. Firefighters carried some children out of the building while others were loaded into an inflatable raft and pulled through the flooded parking lot.

The children were put on a school bus and taken to nearby Sanders Elementary School, where their parents picked them up.

“Luckily, there were no injuries and everyone got out safe,” Danz said.

There were reports of several downed trees across Atlanta and DeKalb County on Thursday afternoon, and one driver had to be rescued from their vehicle after driving into high water on Northside Drive, Channel 2 Action News reported.

The heavy rain has cleared out of metro Atlanta, but flooding remains, Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

“The ground was already so saturated,” Nitz said. “Rivers, streams and creeks were up because of the heavy rain that we had from Tropical Depression Fred. You add onto that these very heavy downpours, and that’s what led to that flash flooding.”

Cobb fire officials are urging drivers in Austell to avoid the area between Anderson Mill Road between Austell Road and Brookwood Drive. When encountering a flooded road, Danz said it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

“Don’t try to cross roadways that are flooded,” he said. “If you can’t see the bottom of the water and you’re not sure how deep it is, it’s best to go around.”

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