Flooding deals Griffith residents second blow

September 17, 2008 4:28:13 PM PDT
Severe weather has dealt a second blow to some northwest Indiana residents. They were already displaced from their homes by a tornado that hit Griffith in August. Now, many cannot return to a hotel where they are staying because of floodwaters. Talk about bad luck. The hotel where the tornado victims are staying happens to be right next to the now closed and flooded Borman Expressway. The hotel itself is surrounded by water.

For the past four days, the tornado victims say all they want to do is just get back in for a few minutes to gather their personal belongings. Wednesday, Jim Guevara was trying to get as close as he can to his home away from home. After a walk across the closed-down expressway, finally the Residence Inn is in sight. For over a month, the Indiana hotel has been home to him and several Griffith tornado victims. But not this week. They were evacuated on Sunday because of the floods.

"If I could apologize to Mother Nature, I would, but I'd like to find out what I did first," said Jim Guevara, evacuated homeowner.

Hotel customers were given 25 minutes to evacuate Sunday and have not been allowed back in since.

"It's everything that was left from the tornado. That's what we have. That's what's in there. That's all I have," said Jeff Jelenski, evacuated homeowner.

"Let us in to get our stuff," said Guevara. "That's all we want."

Besides clothing, they say important paperwork vital to the reconstruction of their tornado-damaged homes are stuck inside the hotel.

Despite the string of bad luck, they've managed to keep their humor and can't help think what act of Mother Nature may be next.

"Everybody at work has decided to stay away from me. They did say that everything comes in threes. They said I'm Dr. Doom. They're trying to stay away," said Guevara.

Guevara jokes that he's now getting ready for the earthquake.

The hotel manager says they're trying to coordinate some type of effort that may take place Thursday or Friday to bring in some boats so people can get their stuff out of the hotel.


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