Athol is monitoring the ice jam in the Millers Rivers

Franklin County

ATHOL, Mass. (WWLP)- Athol residents are keeping a close eye on the Ice chunks in the Millers River.

An ice jam last weekend caused flooding and damaged the Exchange Street Bridge. The town evacuated the Morton Meadows housing complex as a precaution because the Millers rivers flows directly behind it. Morton Meadows is home to elderly, disabled and low-income tenants.

“A lot of the people are in wheelchairs here and if it was an emergency and the water was coming, they would have had a hard time,” said Keith Conway of Athol. “It was a good call.”

Some Morton Meadows residents were allowed to return Monday, but others who live closer to the river, had to wait until Tuesday. They’re all on notice that they may have to evacuate again.  If any ice chunks on the Millers River break off and go downstream, it would put the Morton Meadows Housing complex at risk

“Those could break free at any time especially with the temperatures warming up over the next few weeks, so we are going to continue to monitor it,” said Athol Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Parker. “The fire department crews have been monitoring around the clock and will continue to do so.”

Athol Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Parker told 22News they’re releasing more water at the Birch Hill Dam to help raise the river level. Chief Parker said the Exchange Street Bridge will be closed for at least a couple more days.

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