Last Taum Sauk Child Goes Home

Tanner Toops, the last child injured in the Taum Sauk disaster has gone home.

Taum Sauk Supt. Jerry Toop’s other children — 3-year-old Tara and 7-month-old Tucker, were released from the hospital Dec. 18. Tanner was near cardiac arrest and suffered burns during efforts to warm him following his rescue.

The Toops were expected to return to Lesterville for a time, Davidson said. Volunteers there prepared the parsonage at the First Baptist Church as a temporary home for the family. The Toops attend church there.

Before the reservoir rupture, Jerry Toops had been promoted to assistant Ozarks district supervisor in Lebanon, Mo. The Toops said they expect to move after first returning to the Lesterville area, allowing their children to see friends and return to preschool for a time.
Last child injured in reservoir break leaves hospital

Taum Sauk costs:
Who should pay?

An editorial in the Columbia Daily Tribune says ratepayers AmerenUE certainly should not pay for the damage. It may be an issue in the next election. Democrat Attorney General Jay Nixon, who will run against Republican Blunt for governor next year, said it’s possible ratepayers could get stuck because of a bill signed by Blunt that allows utilities to charge customers for environmental costs.

After flood, our travel writer floated the Black River
Tom Uhlenbrock visited the Black River after the disaster and notes the damage is confined only to the river above Lesterville as a dam there held.

I believe in miracles”: Toops family describes flooding
By Tim O’Neil
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
12/22/2005

Jerry’s description of the disaster:

“I was rolling around with the dressers and the bed and I was swimming. I came to the top and saw the roof, so I got on it. I knelt down and prayed. I prayed that they would be all right,” said Jerry Toops.

Volunteer firefighters found the family washed a quarter mile or so from their home some time after the floodwaters receded.

Jerry Toops said he had been separated from the others. Lisa Toops said she was with two of the three children until they were rescued.
He said he had been asleep when he heard his wife scream and had jumped up to try and rescue the kids when water roared in all around him. Eventually, he made his way to the floating roof, where he stayed as it swirled through the water until it disintegrated. He grabbed at trees until he could hold onto one.

“I believe in miracles, and this is one of them,” he said, adding that he found himself sitting in an ambulance, wondering if anyone would find the others. “I couldn’t believe they were bringing the others into the ambulance, but they were.”

Lisa Toops, 38, said she had fallen asleep with their infant after feeding him in the living room and managed to get to their oldest son before the water quickly filled the house.

She said she told Tanner, 5, to keep repeating, “Jesus, save us.” Still holding the infant, Tucker, Lisa Toops said, “Tanner was washed away. I got washed away… I turned around looking for Tanner and I started to hear him calling, ‘Mommy!’”

The Toops were married in 1997. He is from Clark County in far northeastern Missouri. She is from Raytown, a suburb of Kansas City, Mo.

Second public meeting planned on Johnson’s Shut-Ins
January 7, 2006

Reservoir that collapsed had leaks from start

January 7, 2006
AmerenUE’s Taum Sauk upper reservoir, which collapsed last month, had been shifting, sinking and leaking almost since it opened in 1963, according to federal inspection reports and correspondence released last week.

Ten years’ worth of inspectors’ reports, released by federal regulators last week, showed how the 55-acre, mountaintop reservoir required extensive patching to stem leaks and ongoing monitoring of the shifting earth. Ultimately, the kidney-shaped reservoir – and the rest of the Taum Sauk power plant – passed all federal inspections.

Concrete walls atop the earthen dam had subsided irregularly by a half-foot to 1.5 feet by 1997, inspection reports said. Although the state has no jurisdiction over the reservoir, Missouri’s top dam safety official said such uneven settling could have contributed to its failure.


Documents say walls at failed reservoir sagged for years

Kansas City Star – MO,USA
ST. LOUIS - Walls of the Taum Sauk reservoir had been slowly sinking for decades before the mountaintop dam burst last month, according to federal safety …