Crews Rescue Over 200 As Flood Waters Move Into Wilmington Thursday

Wilmington Mayor, Mike Purzycki, declared a City state of emergency yesterday after floodwaters swept through the city.

“Obviously this terrible storm has caused extensive flooding damage throughout the City,” said the Mayor. “The Brandywine River rose to levels not seen in a hundred years, and our first responders did a marvelous job today of ensuring that everybody was safe and protected. Our Police, Fire, and Emergency Management personnel, working alongside County and State partners and with teams from Public Works, Licenses and Inspections, and Parks and Recreation, all responded heroically to assist those in need throughout a long and difficult day. We all owe them all a debt of gratitude.”

Thursday morning rescue crews worked to remove residents trapped in their homes by flood waters after the Brandywine Creek topped its banks.   Early Thursday morning residents in the Rockland Hills Condominium community had to be rescued by swift-water rescues teams as the water rose several feet inside the community.

Not long after crews were called to the condominiums, crews responded to the area of Northeast Blvd. and 12th Street in east Wilmington. Crews have been entering neighborhoods by boat to rescue residents trapped in their homes throughout the morning.

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Mayor Purzycki spent the morning overseeing operations and surveying damage in various parts of the City. In all, more than 200 people were rescued by the Wilmington Fire Department and partner agencies during the course of the day.

“Obviously this terrible storm has caused serious flooding devastation throughout the City,” said the Mayor on Thursday. “We are doing our very best to ensure that everybody is safe, first and foremost, and that we address the aftermath of this historic storm so that get things back to normal again.”

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Although much of the area around the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution is flooded the prison itself has not been flooded according to Paul Ford Jr., spokesman for the Maor’s office

 The flooding forced the closure of the Brandywine Zoo closed. In a Facebook post staff said  “the Zoo will be closed today, Thursday. All staff, animals, and habitats made it safely through last night’s severe weather. Brandywine Creek, located across the street from the Zoo in Brandywine Park, flooded the adjacent parking lot, up to the Josephine Fountain. As of of 9AM, water has not reached North Park Drive or the Zoo, but staff is monitoring the situation.”

Dramatic video captured the covered bridge on Smith Bridge Road, near the Pennsylvania state line, covered by the floodwaters.

According to Wilmington’s  Emergency Management Director Willie J. Patrick, Jr., residents should remain at home if possible. If evacuation is necessary, residents can go to one of two emergency reception centers for assistance: the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) at 3707 North Market Street, or William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center at 501 North Madison Street.

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“I am pleased to report that not a single death or traumatic injury was recorded following one of the most severe storms to hit Wilmington in recent memory,” the Mayor continued, “though there were a number of medical emergencies that resulted in people being transported to the hospital. Now we must address the aftermath of this event so that get things back to normal again.”

Residents displaced by flooding and in need of overnight shelter, estimated to be several dozen at most, can go to the State Emergency Shelter that has been opened at the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) at 3707 North Market Street. Shelter operations are being coordinated by the City of Wilmington, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and the American Red Cross. For health and safety, people in need of shelter will be tested for COVID-19 by the Division of Public Health prior to entry and face coverings will be required. Food and water will be provided along with additional services as needed. Pets, however, will NOT be allowed at this shelter.

What to Bring:

Face coverings are required for anyone over the age of 2
Medications and any medical devices
Changes of clothing
Electronics chargers
Important documents
Wilmington residents in need of additional services can call 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Residents should continue to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

According to Emergency Management Director Willie J. Patrick, Jr., starting today the City will move from a Rescue and Recovery Operation to the Damage Assessment and Debris Management phase, working in conjunction with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA).


September 2, 2021



WHEREAS, Hurricane Ida passed through Delaware on September 1, 2021; and

WHEREAS, Hurricane Ida caused significant flooding, property damage, and dangerous conditions (the “aftermath”) for Delaware residents, including residents of the City of Wilmington; and

WHEREAS, Hurricane Ida’s aftermath has created an emergency situation in the City of Wilmington; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of the City of Wilmington to protect its residents from Hurricane Ida’s aftermath; and

WHEREAS, Wilm C. § 7-39 authorizes the Mayor, having found the existence of an emergency within the City of Wilmington that affects life, health, property, or the public peace, to proclaim a state of emergency:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MICHAEL S. PURZYCKI, Mayor of the City of Wilmington DO HEREBY DIRECT AND ORDER, pursuant to the emergency provisions of Chapter 7 of the Wilmington City Code, that a State of Emergency exists in the City of Wilmington in connection with Hurricane Ida passing through Delaware on September 1, 2021, and the resulting flooding, property damage, and dangerous conditions, and assume the authority to impose all necessary restrictions and orders authorized by Wilm. C. § 7-40 and other applicable law.

This Executive Order shall become effective immediately upon its execution by the Mayor and shall continue until further proclamation of its termination pursuant to Wilm. C. §7-41.

Signed this 2nd day of September 2021.

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First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at [email protected].

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