A travel agent was trapped for six hours at the weekend as his shop was inundated by river water and sewage amid flooding caused by Storm Ciara.
Benchmark Travel and Tours, which operates from The Travel Centre in West Yorkshire’s Mytholmroyd, was about 5ft under water from the nearby River Calder on Sunday (9 February).
Owner Roger Benn was inside the building trying to gather important possessions when the water started to gush in.
“I was desperately trying to save stuff inside,” Benn told TTG. “It’s a gamble at the time – do you get everything upstairs [and risk becoming trapped] or do you abandon it and leave it?
“[The water] is so fast-flowing, it’s a torrent. You would get swept away in the river if you opened the door. You would have no chance.”
Once the water had risen to the door handle, Benn had to wait upstairs and “just hope”.
Benn had been warned by an automatic system that the river’s water levels were rising, but he was unsure if this would be a false alarm – which can happen up to seven times a month.
Works to build flood walls along the River Calder are under way but are yet to be finished, Benn said.
“Everything the water touched will have to be replaced,” said Benn. “We will have to throw everything away with a flood like this because it’s not just water, it’s the sewage works and everything in between.”