WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 13, 2011, 08:44 AM

Increased crest catches Fort Ransom off guard

Fort Ransom, ND (WDAY TV) - An unexpected crest prediction is taking its toll on people in the tiny town of Fort Ransom, North Dakota. This makes three floods in a row. Everyone in town thought they were sitting pretty this spring, that all changed Tuesday.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

The increased crest is catching everyone off guard here in Fort Ransom. They didn't think they had to do any flood control, but tonight, that has all changed. Fast moving water is now flooding Sons of Norway Park.

STEVE THORFINNSON – Volunteer: “We'll do what we have to do to save the town and homes around here.”

For Steve Thorfinnson, battling another near record flood is becoming too much for him.

STEVE THORFINNSON – Volunteer: “It gets to be tiring.”

He's one of a handful of helpers waging this war against a swelling Sheyenne River.

KATHY KWAPINSKI – Sandbagger: “Oh I don't know if we're pros.

STEVE THORFINNSON – Volunteer: “A little frustrated, you know we're sitting down here with the river being at a low base right now and all of a sudden they're telling us to shoot for 19.5 21 feet by Friday.”

The strength of this small town shows.

KATHY KWAPINSKI – Sandbagger: “Two years ago, when we did it I thought this is probably not going to happen again and here we are two years later doing it again.”

MAYOR JAMES THERNES - Fort Ransom, ND: “I'm getting tired of it, just like everybody else.”

Workers piled three feet of clay onto levees, hopefully to protect up to 23 feet. The work was done in only a matter of hours.

MAYOR JAMES THERNES - Fort Ransom, ND: “It actually kind of blind-sided us. We didn't realize it was going to go up two feet that it'd been projected the day before.”

It's the rush of help through the threatened streets, showing the renewed sense of urgency. Volunteers quickly suit up to sandbag more homes to try to save a community known for it's rolling hills and peaceful prairies tonight gaining attention for it's flood fight.

STEVE THORFINNSON – Volunteer: “It's kind of easy to handle and here I am with my gal next to me pushing me, but we'll do it.”

Some homes in downtown and on the north side of town along East Mill Road still need to be sandbagged. The town has about five thousand filled bags ready to go.