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Two scale Cedar Rapids flood wall to deliver pumps to restaurant

City officials warn residents to stay away from flood protection barriers

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Despite winding up on the wrong side of Cedar Rapids’ HESCO barriers near NewBo City Market, the owners of Tornado’s Grub and Pub have stayed behind.

With the river nearing its 22-foot crest Tuesday morning, Josh Jensen and Cory Harrison, both employees at Hiawatha’s H & J Heating and Cooling and friends of the owners, scaled the 16-feet-tall levee Tuesday to deliver pumps to the restaurant.

“What happened was they were taking on water faster than they could get rid of it, their pumps weren’t keeping up, so we were just simply getting them more pumps to help them fight,” Jensen said, after crawling down off the wall of HESCO barriers. “We had a bunch of extra pumps over at the shop and brought them over to people who could actually use them.”

Using an inner tube and a rope, the two men transported four pumps over to Tornado’s.

“We threw a tennis ball (attached to the raft via rope) so they could pull supplies over and we kind of just put the pumps on the raft so they could pull them over,” Harrison said.

When it became apparent those in the restaurant couldn’t hook up hoses to the pumps, Jensen hopped into the raft himself.

Jensen said it appears flood protection efforts at Tornado’s, which includes sand bags and plywood, seems to be holding up. Water outside the building was about three feet deep, he said.

City officials have repeated that residents are asked to not pass barriers, stay out of flood zones and not climb on top of flood walls.

“Absolutely not advised. Officers will likely be charging anyone if they’re doing if they’re doing this. For one, it’s not safe. Number two, it’s just compromising the flood protection barriers,” Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said. “People have got to use some good judgment.”

Gazette reporter Makayla Tendall contributed to this story.

For all of The Gazette's Flood 2016 coverage, please visit our flood coverage center.

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