WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 17, 2010, 08:13 AM

Lisbon takes drastic measures to protect the city from flood waters

Lisbon, ND (WDAY TV) - The town of Lisbon could be in serious trouble with the state of North Dakota after taking drastic measures to protect the city from rising flood waters. City leaders tonight admitted to burning down a flood buyout home because it was in the way of a dike they wanted to build and they didn't get state permission to do it.

A clay dike is being built along the rising Sheyenne River in Lisbon. It's further back from the river because the banks started sloughing from the dikes built during the last flood fight. The home was a flood buyout home. It had been abandoned since before the flood of 09.

The town needs to build a dike where it stood so to make way for that dike, the town took matters into its own hands. It burned down the flood buyout home and garage. For much of the evening, firefighters battled high flames and thick smoke.

The problem, there was no time to prepare or to get help from FEMA or get proper approval; that from witnesses, the fire department, and Lisbon’s Mayor Ross Cole.

“It just needed to be done so we just absolutely needed to do it. We needed to get it out of there. We didn't have time to get a contract. We just got ownership of it today and it needed to go.”

Cole says this was the quickest way to protect the public from floodwaters. Firefighters tell us the burn did not follow EPA regulations. None of them would go on camera tonight.