LONDON (AP) — British police ordered the evacuation of a town of 6,500 people in northwest England on Thursday over fears that a rain-damaged dam could collapse.
The Derbyshire Police force said residents of Whaley Bridge should leave their homes immediately because of the “significant threat to life.”
It said a dam wall at the 19th-century Toddbrook Reservoir above the town had been damaged by days of heavy rain.
Police officers went door to door in Whaley Bridge telling people to leave and head to a school a few miles (kilometers) away. Residents of the town, located 175 miles (280 kilometers) northwest of London, were advised to stay with friends and family elsewhere if possible, and to take pets and several days’ worth of any essential medications with them.
“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we appreciate that there is significant impact on this community, however this is an unprecedented, fast-moving emergency situation,” police tweeted.