Authorities are searching for a National Guard member who is believed to have been swept away in fast-moving flood waters on Sunday as he worked to rescue people in Maryland, officials say.
Howard County Police said Eddison Hermond, of Severn, was last seen around 5:20 p.m. near La Palapa, a restaurant on Main Street. Officials were still looking for the 39 year old on Monday.
Friends and relatives of Hermond said the former Air Force member was swept away by flood waters while helping rescue people in the ravaged Ellicott City, which is about 10 miles west of Baltimore.
In Facebook posts, family and friends said they are “extremely worried,” adding that Hermond was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and black shorts.
Hermond is the only person reported missing since the flooding began over the weekend and at least 30 rescues were carried out, officials said, according to CNN. Footage of the wreckage showed brown water streaming through Main Street in Ellicott, according to the outlet.
The rampaging waters damaged buildings, overturned cars and flooded stores and homes. Almost eight inches of rain fell on the town Sunday, leaving the city filled with debris, USA Today reports.
“There are no words to describe the devastation in Ellicott City,” Howard County executive Allan Kittleman said in a Facebook post alongside a photo of a damaged road.
“In addition to the [businesses] that have been destroyed, a portion of Ellicott Mills Drive has been washed away.”
A community center has been opened in the area for those seeking shelter, according to CNN. Fire and rescue teams urged residents to evacuate the downtown area or move to higher ground as rescue teams worked in the area, CNN reports.
The “traumatic” flood comes just two years after another flood in the city left two dead and several buildings damaged. Kittleman spoke of the devastation on Sunday, lamenting that residents had only recently achieved a sense of normalcy after the 2016 flood.
“It’s just devastating because people have their lives tied up in this and went through a heck of a lot and came back and now they’re starting all over again,” Kittleman said, according to CNN.
Ellicott City sits in the valley of the Patapsco River, which rose from 17.8 feet to a record-setting 24.13 in just a few hours on Sunday, CNN reports. The National Weather Service has warned that more rainfall could hit the town.
SOURCE: People – Char Adams