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Bakery employees recall rescue

By Staff
BAKERY FLOOD Flooding in April 2003 near the Sara Lee Bakery off Interstate 20/59 meant that firefighters had to rescue workers by boat. FILE PHOTO
By Penny Randall / staff writer
April 4, 2004
The boat ride was bumpy to say the least.
Riding alongside Manning was fellow employee Becky Sims.
Sims had worked at the bakery off Interstate 20/59 for a month when torrential rains on April 6 and 7, 2003, pushed Sowashee Creek over its banks and surrounded the business.
Sowashee Creek is a drainage canal that flows behind the bakery, eventually emptying storm runoff into the Chickasawhay River.
Dea Dickerson, a 21-year bakery employee, didn't arrive at work until mid-morning April 7 because rising flash floods made it difficult for her to leave her Collinsville home.
Next up to leave the office were Evelyn Tucker, Cathy Pratt and Debbie Adams. The three left about 3 p.m., hitching a ride on a large transport truck before the waters rose too high.
Sims and Manning were the last of the office personnel to leave the bakery at about 4 p.m.
Chris Bohl and Brent Baucum, Meridian firefighters, volunteered to guide the rescue boat through the waters.
The business office windows face Sowashee Creek, and Manning noticed early that morning that the water was higher than usual.
Tucker said she could remember in the early 1990s another heavy rain caused the banks of Sowashee to overflow near the bakery before the city's widening of Sowashee was complete.