Small ND town hopes aging dam can hold back river

Associated Press
Robert Kibler and his dog, Alfie, survey the flooded Des Lacs River in Burlington, N.D., on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. Kibler and his wife, Alex Duefel, left their home on Tuesday but returned Wednesday to move their collection of 7,000 books to a main floor. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)

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Some North Dakota residents in a development along the bloated Des Lacs (duh-LAKS') River have brushed off warnings to evacuate ahead of a possible dam break.

About 30 homes in the small town of Burlington near Minot, in northwest North Dakota, were at risk of severe damage from what officials called a "high potential" the aging dam would wash out. About 200 people had been advised to head to higher ground.

Fire Chief Karter Lesmann says authorities can't make people leave. Some have chosen to stay behind and shore up or pump out their homes.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for the western edge of Burlington, saying a dam failure could lead to 3-foot rise in the river. About 1,200 people live in the town.

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