Roanoke Fire-EMS responded to five swift water rescues since May 20, evacuated more than 100 from Roanoke Ramada Inn during Thursday flooding

Virginia News

UPDATE 5:48 A.M.: Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea confirmed the Roanoke River crested at 4:10 p.m. Thursday.

Flood response was challenging due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lea said.

“Today, we want you to continue to stay vigilant because it’s still raining,” the mayor urged. “Roads are still blocked by flood waters making travel dangerous. Please remember that.”

Roanoke Fire-EMS Deputy Chief Billy Altman the department received “10 to 12 calls for flooded basements and assorted water checks with our engine companies.” The fire department also responded to one hazmat call.

The more than 100 people evacuated from the Franklin Road Ramada Inn have been relocated to two hotels on Peters Creek Road with the assistance of the American Red Cross, Virginia National Guard, and other agencies.

As for debris cleanup, Altman said the city is usually quick to clear and re-open roads after a flooding event.

Lea and Altman both urged people to obey road closures and not drive around barricades.

“You’re putting your life in danger, you’re putting other lives in danger.”

The Roanoke River is currently at 14 feet and is down almost two feet over 12 hours.

“Probably by tomorrow, all the roads should be opened up,” Altman said.

UPDATE 5:20 A.M.: Roanoke Fire-EMS Deputy Chief Billy Altman said more than 100 people were evacuated from the Ramada Inn on Franklin Road as flood waters crept into the first floor of the motel Thursday. The fire department also responded to five swift water rescue calls since May 20. One person was rescued and transported to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Altman said the Spring Lake Dam is no longer believed to be in danger of failing since water has begun to recede.

“It was a threat, but they have neutralized that threat.”

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Emergency officials with the city of Roanoke will update the public at 5 a.m. on the flooding situation unfolding across the area.

“Well over 100” people were evacuated yesterday, Roanoke Fire-EMS Battalion Chief of Emergency Management Trevor Shannon said during a Thursday virtual press conference. Evacuations included dozens of people, including many homeless who were temporarily housed at the Ramada Inn on Franklin Road.

Water rescues continued late in Thursday night in Roanoke. A tweet from Roanoke Fire-EMS says a man was rescued from a flooded car in the 2100 block of Bennington Street just after 10 p.m. Thursday.

There was concern Thursday that the the Spring Valley Dam near Lake Drive in Roanoke was in danger of failing as heavy rains continued for a third straight day. Thirteen homes were evacuated in the area. The Carvins Cove Dam in Roanoke County was also reportedly at risk of failing Thursday. There has been no breach of either dam as of Friday morning.

WFXR News will carry the news conference — featuring Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea and Deputy Fire-EMS Chief Billy Altman — live at 5 a.m. on Good Day Virginia, here on, and the WFXR News app.

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