Town residents let back into homes below damaged England dam

Town residents let back into homes below damaged England dam
Work continues to shore up the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir, with workers observing from the dry reservoir bank behind, after the dam was damaged in recent heavy rainfall, near the village of Whaley Bridge, England, Monday August 5, 2019. Emergency crews in northwest England continue pumping water from the reservoir to reduce the water level from the damaged dam with fear of the structure failing and flooding of the local town of Whaley Bridge.(Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Police say residents evacuated from a town below a damaged reservoir in England almost a week ago can return to their homes.

More than 1,500 people were ordered to leave Whaley Bridge last Thursday after the 180-year-old Toddbrook Reservoir’s dam was damaged in heavy rain.

The evacuation order was lifted Wednesday after firefighters spent days pumping much of the water from the reservoir and a Royal Air Force helicopter dropped bags of sand and gravel to plug a hole in the dam’s slipway.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann of Derbyshire Police said “the danger posed by the millions of tons of water, which would have destroyed homes and livelihoods, could not be underestimated.”

She said engineers would now assess and repair the damage.

Whaley Bridge is 175 miles (280 kilometers) northwest of London.