Blakeley, Minn., residents return home after mudslide cleared - KMSP-TV

Blakeley, Minn., residents return home after mudslide cleared

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BLAKELEY, Minn. (KMSP) -

Their tiny town of 500 people was literally cut off from the rest of the world after heavy rains triggered landslides more than a week ago, but on Monday, many residents in Blackeley, Minn., are finally back home.

For the dozens of families who live in the heart of the community along the Minnesota River, there's no place like home. Yet, many who showed up at the Belle Plaine Fire house to meet with emergency management officials learned that while road access to town marks a small step forward, there is still a long road to recovery.

Still, after spending more than a week at a friend's home, coming home and unpacking never felt so good for Chad Sellnow and Wanda Quick.

"It's a great feeling," Sellnow said. "Good to be back."

The couple, like many in the tiny Scott County community, had their lives turned upside down by recent downpours. Mudslides washed out all four roads that lead in and out of Blakeley. Electrical and telephone poles were lost, leaving the town quite literally cut off from the rest of the world.

"Somebody upset Mother Nature very bad," Precious Stier told Fox 9 News. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."

Residents were urged to evacuate after water and mud flowed into some homes. Those who stayed were forced to park their vehicles on top of a safe, dry hill and then hoof it half a mile into town or wait for an ATV or four-wheeler to pick them up.

The residents who live at the bottom of the Minnesota River valley are a resilient lot. In fact, when emergency management crews finally reopened County Road 6 to motor vehicle traffic on Monday afternoon, many -- including Sellnow and Quick -- moved back home immediately.

"We have no phone service yet. No Internet service, no cell service because we're in mudslide-ville," Stier remarked. "But, everything else is pretty much the same."

Stier was one of the lucky ones. The house she rents stayed dry, but she knows the disaster has taken a toll on everyone. Others returned to a big mess. One homeowner found four inches of water and mud in his basement.

"Emotionally, physically, monetary-wise -- everything," Stier said.

At the Monday night meeting with emergency officials, residents learned that a couple of county roads in and out of town will be long-term closures -- possibly permanent due to the severity of the damage.

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