Domenic Frattaroli and about eight other volunteers worked until 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.
They had to repair a dike on Jean-Yves Street in Île-Bizard that was starting to leak.
“The truck was rolling as we were going by,” Frattaroli says. “We were grabbing bags and just throwing them on the dike as we were going along.”
They were afraid that the barrier holding back the water was getting weaker, but not only because of the water pressure on the dike from the river on the other side.
“There were some people taking sandbags,” he explains, shaking his head.
He points out that the dike could have collapsed, sending water pouring into homes, because removing sandbags weakens it. Residents are furious.
“Why on earth would anybody steal a sandbag from a dike?” asks Ross McLean, who lives about 50 metres from where neighbours reported seeing people removing the bags. “We could have a catastrophe from somebody messing with the dikes!”
WATCH: When a dike breached in Quebec, 6,000 people living in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac were forced out of their homes at a moment’s notice
Though authorities say floodwaters are receding in some places, they and homeowners in flooded areas across the Montreal region worry about the integrity of the dikes. There have been some close calls.
Tuesday morning Pierrefonds residents on de Gaulle and nearby streets narrowly averted disaster. Crews managed to repair a breach in a temporary dike just in time after water began gushing into streets and homes.
People in Sainte-Marthe-sur-Le-lac weren’t so lucky, and that’s on the mind of homeowners.
“This could crush a community if somebody is messing with the dikes,” says McLean.
They want more police surveillance of the area. Borough officials say they will continue to have constant patrols to make sure the dikes are secure.
But neighbours have taken matters into their own hands and are also watching the dike.
“I don’t understand,” says Frattaroli, as he patrols the edge of the dike looking for breaches. “People don’t get it. This is serious!”