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Warsaw neighbors stranded after road splits

WARSAW, Ind. - Warsaw neighbors who live on Bruner Road are stranded after heavy rains Friday caused the only street granting them access to their homes to split down the middle.

A road turned into rapids before neighbors’ very eyes Friday, after five inches of rain caused Warsaw’s Bruner Road to collapse.

“I’m in awe,” said neighbor Dana Fife, after looking back at the wrecked road.

Fife lives on the other side of the road, meaning she can’t get to her home and her dogs.

“I left to go to town around 2:30, 3 o’clock and the road was there, and the neighbor messaged me and said if you’re in town, you’re not getting back in because the road washed away…she wasn’t lying,” she said.

Contractors say the water reached more than half way to the main road and stood at nearly one foot at its highest point.

One contractor said he saw the water push one of the two pipes running underneath the road clear up into the air and down the stream to where it currently sits.

“There’s only one way in off Bruner and one way out unless you go in through the woods or you come in off a boat through the lake,” said Fife.

That means all the neighbors who live on the farther side of the split are trapped, unable to get out.

Fife estimates there are 100 homes affected.

“I live down here just a few houses, and I had a big limb go down across the road, and I was out cleaning it up, and I noticed people were going by me and turning around and coming back by and one of them stopped me and told me the culverts had washed out,” said one of those neighbors who are trapped, Rick Grass.

“It’s not a surprise. It happened before, and my wife can remember it happening when she was a kid,” he said.

Kosciusko County’s drainage supervisor says heavy rain caused the road to collapse about seven years ago.

Since then, he said they reinforced it with concrete endcaps, but he says the road’s no match for mother nature.

“The county is doing the best they can with what they got to work with. We have no outlet here, so they can’t really tear it up for six months to put in a bridge, because how would we get to work and the grocery store?” said Grass.

For now, they’re stuck.

The Kosciusko County Emergency Manager said his main concern was to ensure access for first responders (EMS and the fire department).

He said they scanned the perimeter and found a few private pathways that responders could access in the event of an emergency, so neighbors shouldn’t worry too much about that.

The county highway department had to wait for the water to recede before dumping rocks on the area to create an access point.

The drainage supervisor said they will return at a later date to rebuild once again.

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