More than a thousand people have been forced to flee their caravan park in a “major incident” after flooding on Christmas Day.
Emergency services began evacuating people from the Billings Aquatrom holiday park in Northamptonshire on Thursday afternoon.
Some of those evacuated have gone to stay with their families, while Northamptonshire police say two leisure centers in Northamptonshire and “many” hotel rooms have been secured for emergency accommodation.
The Northamptonshire Search and Rescue Service, which assisted the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said it had rescued several people, including three adults, in a car.
Billings Aquatrom reported that people were being asked to leave their homes and return to their residential addresses “immediately” after water levels continued to rise.
“Park staff are doing everything they can to help and assist all vacation homeowners during the incredibly difficult times,” it said. “We are heartbroken to be in this position. We are so sorry for the inconvenience. We thank you for your understanding and continued support.”
Residents said part of the park, known as Canada Drive and very close to the Nene River, was flooded.
One told Sky News: “A small area of the park is heavily flooded, approximately knee-high.
“It came up to the bottom of my car door. The neighbors next door were elderly and the husband was having trouble getting his wife out.
He added: “Personally I feel insensitive to it, worried about whether my place will be there when I return. Now I can not enjoy any Christmas in my mind.”
1/2 PLS RT: Large incident reported in flood #BillingAquatrome. Currently searching for 1,100 merchants with 5 teams and 4 special water teams parked in the park, which was 5 feet underwater today. According to Commander Bill Bells, the teams are searching all sections of the site …
– ortnorthantsfire December 24, 2020
Chief Superintendent Mick Stamper said it was “an exceptionally challenging situation.”
“Residents are asked to leave the area immediately and seek shelter with family or friends as much as possible,” he said.
“Anyone who is concerned that this violates COVID-19 regulations should ensure that these are exceptional circumstances and that they are exempt,” he added.
“However, we urge people not to go to homes that protect or self-isolate people as a result of COVID-19.”
The holiday park, which houses mobile homes and lodges, is set on 235 acres in the Nene Valley and is open 11 months of the year from February 6 to January 6.