Volunteers protect downtown Alton, Ill. from flood by sandbaggin - KMOV.com

Volunteers protect downtown Alton, Ill. from flood by sandbagging

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ALTON, Ill. (KMOV.com) - People living and working in Alton are breathing a sigh of relief. Volunteers have been building a wall of sandbags to keep floodwaters out from flowing into Alton's downtown business district. 

"The volunteers that came out in the hundreds that made the difference in saving the city. I am humbled and amazed it went as smoothly as it did. We erected a 1000 foot wall with the help of our city, county and volunteers in two days," says Brant Walker, Mayor of Alton, Illinois. 

Flooding or the potential for it, is nothing new for the people here. But the mayor says this flood was different. 

"It was very indicative of a flash flood. To give you an idea, when we were out there Monday with the sandbags, it crested in six hours. It took the '93 flood two months to get there," Walker says. 

Volunteers and workers say they constructed the flood wall out of sandbags and a synthetic rubber. While they worked, business owners did what they could to help too. The owner of State Street Market says the business stayed semi-open and even gave out hot coffee and food to the workers. 

"It is one of those things out of sight, out of mind. It happened to them, its not going not happen to me. It will never happen to us. It was eye opening. It was great to see how the city really did an outstanding job from preventing us from losing our business," says Glenn Beaubien, owner of State Street Market.

Many people came into Alton to take a look at the Mississippi River out of its banks. 

"Mother nature don't play. When this flood took place, I was like, 'oh man, I have to get it on camera.' I drove all the way from Florissant just to catch this," says James Mathu, resident of Florissant, Missouri. 

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