ROANOKE, Va. – The Ramada on Franklin Road in Roanoke was evacuated due to flooding concerns on Thursday.
The National Guard assisted the Roanoke Police Department and Roanoke Fire-EMS with the mandatory evacuation. They took residents to stay at other hotels.
“The main reason for the evacuation was just the access to the building is so poor, when it floods like this we don’t want to risk anybody at all," said Captain Robert Reid with Roanoke Fire-EMS.
Roanoke city officials said about 120 people were evacuated on a National Guard truck.
“It’s just way beyond comprehension,” said Eric Strobeck, who was staying at the hotel and waded through the water to get out before the rescue began.
Crews did their best to maintain safety protocols and said the coronavirus made things more challenging.
“All of our crews were in face masks and then the number of people that we put in the trucks, we also put them in face masks, and we tried to sanitize the best we could using the sanitizers that we had," said Reid.
A large portion of Roanoke’s at-risk population was hunkering down the storm and pandemic at the hotel. Representatives from both Arch Roanoke and Blue Ridge Behavioral health came to help their clients.
Before the evacuation was ordered, representatives from Arch, an organization that helps the homeless, braved the floodwater themselves to bring pizza to their clients.
“What else can you do but help people when the going gets tough,” said Arch development manager Morgan Dean.
When everyone would be able to get back into the hotel was unclear Thursday.
“Usually we move them to second, third and fourth floor. The flooding will subside within a couple of hours; This one is going to be a little more unique in that it’s probably going to be another day or so before this water truly goes down," said Reid.