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Washed out bridge in Freeport strands two families

FREEPORT (WGME) -- Picture this. You're heading home from work, and the road leading to your home is gone; washed away in a storm. That actually happened to two families in Freeport Wednesday night when the one and only bridge leading to their homes got washed out in that torrential downpour.

Four inches of rain in 90 minutes. Six and a half inches of rain in all. The bridge was no match for that.  And now, two families are stranded on the wrong side of this bridge." Beth Toothaker is one of those stranded homeowners on the other side of Allen Brook. She says usually "It's just a very small, little brook."

But when that torrential downpour hit Wednesday night, this brook turned into a giant, swirling pond. Mike Shea, whose also stranded, says "It built up so high, then swirled around and blew all the culverts out. They were probably plugged up with rocks and debris." The floodwaters washed this bridge away.

The rushing water took out two large culverts and all the rocks, rails and dirt used to build this bridge. Shea says "The neighbor's got her car trapped over there. She can't even get out." Toothaker says "She was sleeping when it happened. So she's stuck on that side. Our vehicles are stuck on this side."

Beth Toothaker says "They told us if there was a fire or if somebody needed an ambulance, there's absolutely nothing they could do. The only thing they could do is make us a priority for airlifting. So I like to say it's a good thing I'm a nurse." The couple bought a Ranger to get through the woods to their home.

Toothaker says "I had to go finance a Ranger cause we have chickens and turkeys up there that need to be fed." They've also been given an estimate for rebuilding this bridge over their private drive, between $60,000 and $100,000 dollars. Mike Shea says "To come up with that kind of money, it's hard."

Beth Toothaker says "If we can't get this resolved before the snow flies, that's the scary part. Cause there's no way to heat the house without oil." So at this point, both families don't know what they're going to do. They're trying to find a way to build a new road to their homes, that doesn't involve this bridge.

If you have any ideas that might help these two families, they'd love to hear from you. You can email Beth Toothaker at elizabeth.toothaker@gmail.com. Unfortunately, because this is a private drive, the Town of Freeport and the State of Maine are not obligated to help rebuild that bridge.