Maddiston train driver sees his home washed away in front of his eyes

This week’s horrendous thunderstorm led to severe flooding which saw one Maddiston family forced to flee their home and wade through waist high water pulling a dinghy to transport their dog to safety.

By James Trimble
Friday, 14th August 2020, 4:12 pm

Wednesday morning’s storms – and perhaps other factors – led to the Manuel Burn bursting its banks and within minutes the Woods family found their house in Park Hall surrounded by six feet of fast running water.

Martin Wood said: “At 3.30am I let the dog out and it was still raining. Then at 5am I looked out the bedroom window and there were torrents of water like a river flowing into the back of the house.

“I got my son and daughter up – at that point I knew the house was going to be flooded. We tried to get as much things as possible upstairs, but it happened so quickly. We just had to get out.

Train driver Martin Wood's house in Maddiston was flooded when the Manuel Burn burst its banks

“The water rose four or five feet up the walls inside the house. I had to put our dog in a dinghy and pull her along as I waded through the water. I moved my car and my son’s car further up the road thinking they would be safe, but the flood reached them and they were written off.”

The flood also ruined a games room, in a building to the side of the house, that Martin and son Andrew had worked on as a place for them to relax.

Martin, who has been a train driver for almost 40 years, said he believes it was a combination of factors which led to the devastating flood.

"I’ve been here for 30 years and my family has owned this land here for 60 years and there has never been anything like this before – there have been storms in the past but it has never flooded before.

Train driver Martin Wood's Maddiston home was flooded when the Manuel Burn burst its banks

“What has happened is the storm hit when there was debris in the Manuel Burn – which should have been cleared and maintained. And there’s the new housing estate being build nearby which has all its rainwater run through a pipe into the burn – I don’t think that helped.”

Martin is waiting to hear from his insurance company’s loss adjuster on Tuesday, when he will find out if the house he has spent so much of his time and effort on will be able to be salvaged or not.

Martin said: “I built the house in 1992, 1993 and put a lot of time and effort – it’s my life and it’s destroyed in a few minutes.”

Even if the house can become habitable again, the family face months away from it.

At the moment they are living with Martin’s sister, who stays nearby, but that is not a long term situation.

“If we can live there again,” said Martin. “I would like some assurances this would never happen again. They need to survey this burn on an annual basis and make sure it’s clear so nothing like this ever happens again."

Another Park Hall resident, who lives just down the road from Martin, said the water started to subside just as it entered his home, but it still reached three feet up his walls. He has been told he and his family will have to wait six months until they can return to the house.

A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “We visited this property this morning and we are fairly confident we have established the cause of the flooding. Unfortunately, it appears that a fallen tree has blocked the Manuel Burn a short distance downstream of the properties creating a dam across the watercourse during the intense rainfall.

“Although the burn is now clear and water levels have receded we will continue to investigate and liaise with the landowners responsible for maintenance along this section of the watercourse.”