Suburban residents face extensive flooding

The Herrington Inn & Spa in downtown Geneva, Ill. used sandbags to minimize flooding from the Fox River. (Chopper 7 image)
April 19, 2013 8:23:18 PM PDT
Severe flooding is still affecting people along a number of Chicago area rivers Friday night and Governor Pat Quinn has declared 38 counties state disaster areas.

One of the hardest hit areas is west suburban Forest View. Homes, businesses and even the fire department were overcome by water. Many people were trapped in their homes and had to be rescued by boat Friday morning.

The suburb remained waterlogged on Friday, with entire blocks still submerged in water.

Thursday's torrential rains left the village's fire department underwater.

With the help of neighboring fire districts, fire officials set up shop in an elementary school until waters subside.

"We have about four feet of water. It came in so fast," said Deputy Chief Randall Kappmeyer, Forest View Fire Department.

Residents like Karen Stimach were forced from their homes without their family keepsakes.

"The pictures, things the kids made. My parents both passed away, we had momentos from them. Everything is just gone. But we're safe and we have to keep that in mind," said Stimach.

In nearby Stickney, until the flood waters crest, all residents in the southwest suburb can do is worry and wait.

"The neighborhood is like my family," said Stickney resident Leslie Sage. "I'm scared for all if us right now."

It's worse in Forest View, where entire blocks are underwater.

Forest View's fire department is flooded. With the help of neighboring fire districts, they've set up shop in an elementary school for now.

In the northern suburbs, a state of emergency was declared Friday in Lisle after at least 7 inches of rain soaked the village.

One man had to be rescued after he got stranded in his truck.

Residents at the Towers of Four Lakes Village apartment complex were evacuated to escape all the rising water.

"We have an indoor parking garage and every single car, completely flooded," area resident William Martin said.

Lisle and Woodridge fire officials went door-to-door checking to see if any other residents were trapped inside their homes.

And volunteers have been sandbagging this saturated community.

Displaced residents were taking refuge at Benedictine University and did not know whether they will return home.

Des Plaines resident Jose Perez says the water flooding in his basement continued to rise Friday even though the rain had stopped.

Down the road, the Des Plaines River continued to swell, rising to a record breaking 10.92 feet- the highest it has been in 27 years. It is expected crest at 11 feet at 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening, according to officials.

Voluntary evacuations are being offered in the Big Bend area of Des Plaines, adjacent to the Lion's Wood Forest Preserve where the river snakes through.

"I thought yesterday water would go down. Then this morning things got worse. You can see more water. It's worse than yesterday," said Perez.

As most people wait for the water to recede, 23 Des Plaines residents have been evacuated from their homes Friday morning.

Residents say they keep portable watercraft handy and are using them to escape.

"We had to get everything out if our basement because it is full of water and just leave with all our stuff," said Madison Kulbersh.

The family plans to return only after the waters subside- which could take days.

"Well we probably won't be coming back until we can walk on th street. I'm not going through that again," said Shannon Kulbersh.

Des Plaines' acting mayor has warned of the dangers of swollen waters and told the community to stay home Friday.

"If they have power electricity food, please stay home unless you have a life-threatening occurrence happening," said Mark Walsten, acting mayor.

Meanwhile, emergency management officials in Des Plaines closed several main roads because of flooding and set up sandbag stations for residents still battling the waters. Residents are urged to visit www.desplaines.org for more information.

Even farther north, in Wisconsin, state officials shut down a five-mile stretch of Highway 50 in Kenosha County because of flooding of the nearby Fox River.

The highway was closed Friday morning from about Highway 83 in Wheatland to Highway 75 near Paddock Lake.

Lindsay Schmidt of the state Department of Transportation says the closure is indefinite but the highway isn't likely to reopen before Saturday.

Meanwhile, in Naperville, the Eagle Street, Washington Street, Main Street and Jefferson Avenue bridges have all re-opened to traffic in time for the Friday evening rush hour, according to officials.

Some residents spent Friday cleaning up the mess as waters receded. The Naperville Department of Public Works asks residents who need to dispose of sand bags to contact them at (630) 420-6095 and provide their address for pickup. Sand bags should be placed out on the curb.

As the flood recovery continues, major roadways that will remain closed throughout the evening commute include Naper Boulevard from Abbeywood to Dunrobin and Washington Street south of Royce Road.

A map showing remaining road closures in Naperville can be viewed at www.naperville.il.us.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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