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Heavy rainfall takes toll on Cairo veterans memorial

The veterans memorial in Cairo was damaged Sunday following this weekend’s heavy rainfall. (Photo Provided)

CAIRO — The Cairo veterans memorial was damaged Sunday following heavy rainfall this weekend.

At 1:45 p.m. Sunday, the Cairo Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call involving a possible structure collapse, according to Cairo Fire Chief Zach Foster.

“When we got there we found the back retaining wall of the memorial had collapsed into the lot behind it. The block holding the wall up was completely gone and part of the memorial had started to fall in as well,” he said.

The damage was not severe – Foster said he believes it is fixable but thinks it might have to be moved from its location on Railroad Street downtown.

“It’s definitely fixable, although I think they will probably have to look for a different location. It’s still in one piece and it’s definitely salvageable,” Foster said. “The way it’s laid out, it doesn’t have very good drainage there and it has just built up over the years. Finally, it just had too much and it gave in.”

After arriving on the scene, the fire department secured the area to make sure nobody could be hurt.

“Some electrical wires run underneath the memorial, they keep it lit up at night. We had to get ahold of Mon Power and the city of Cairo and to get the city employees out to take care of it.”

The veterans memorial has been in the Cairo community for about 10 years. Blocks can be purchased to honor a veteran and their name and dates of service. It also has a memorial to represent each war.

“It’s something really nice that not a lot of people know about and it’s something we take for granted,” Foster said. “It’s actually really nice, the memorial is pretty big.”

Cairo typically has flooding issues but Foster said the North Bend State Park dam has helped reduce water levels.

“We’re watching the river right now, we think it’s starting to go down. It didn’t reach Main Street like it usually does,” Foster said. “A few side roads were covered. We’re very lucky for our dam at North Bend. It’s one of the moments where we realized why it’s important and why we’re glad we have it.”

The dam has been around since about 2004 and Foster said if it weren’t for that, the town would be under water every time it rained heavily.

“Our biggest issue is creeks and streams, that’s where we see most of our flooding. The river can give us problems but it has to be a big downpour,” he said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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