Lee Co. families still trapped at home after bridge collapse

SMITHS STATION, AL (WTVM) - Families are still recovering in east Alabama after days of rain and flooding. A bridge collapse in Smiths Station this week left around a dozen families stranded in their homes on Lee Road 687 near Rock Creek Cove.

Residents say they have been unable to leave this area since Wednesday.

"There's twelve families for sure. We have anywhere from our youngest who is five and we have an 87-year-old blind man here," says resident Kevin Cremo.

Their situation is a result of a bridge on Lee Road 687 collapsing.

Some residents say they have been unable to leave to get groceries and some are unable to go to work.

Residents say they have been told that a replacement bridge would be installed for a certain period of time. Afterward, they would be trapped even longer away from home if they leave.

"He hired them to put a temporary bridge there. We would have a five-hour window to get our vehicles or any belongings and then they would take that down and then it would be four to five months before we could come back into our homes," says resident Heather Cremo.

They say for those who have no place to go one of the main concerns they have is if there's an emergency requiring medical help.

"Fire and rescue came by and said that if there is a fire then whatever is on fire was going to burn to the ground. And if there is a medical emergency, it's going to take hours to get there. Or we can call and have a lift flight come in and that's going to cost five to ten grand," says another resident.

The owner of this private bridge says they are working as fast as possible to get this issue resolved.

Richard Louther, the bridge's private owner, says he can not put a time on how long it would take, but residents say next Tuesday is when the city will come down to assess the situation to see if they need to declare it a state of emergency.

"Once it's a state of emergency declared then private property ownership rights go away and they can step in and help us," says Kevin.

Smiths Station Communication Director Lisa Deason says that while the homes have a Smiths Station postal address, it is not.in the city.

As such, Deason says the city will not be evaluating any damage, the county or state will be.

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