Toccoa, GA Dam Failure and Flood, Nov 1977
In Toccoa, BILL STACY, 19, who lived with his parents in a trailer, said: "I heard a bunch of people screaming and hollering. There was this terrible screeching noise .. the trailers were all over the place -- some floating, some just came apart."
Gov. GEORGE BUSBEE, who flew to Toccoa, said the state would begin monitoring "as of this moment" 84 dams in the state that have been classified highly hazardous by the federal Corps of Engineers. He said the dams would be examined, not because they posed imminent danger, but because of the recent heavy rainfall.
BUSBEE said the state would investigate the dam break, but that "this is no time to start blaming anyone."
The president of the college, KENN OPPERMAN, said the dam, weakened by several days of hard rain, had been inspected in the past few days. He said, however, he didn't know whether any government agency might have taken part in the inspection.
"We had some flash flooding and as a result of that we inspected the dam," he said. "I'm of the opinion that it was a routine inspection."
The creek had risen to near flood stage Saturday night, and volunteer fireman were advising residents of houses and mobile homes in the area to leave as a precaution. Two of the firemen were killed when the dam broke.
The dam and lake are on property owned by the college, and water from the lake normally filters down a scenic 187-foot rock drop known as Toccoa Falls. It then runs into a creek which meanders through the campus of the non-denominational school, which has about 600 students and faculty and is operated by the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Nyack, N. Y.
Florence Morning News South Carolina 1977-11-07