Cleanup begins for Albany Park residents after Chicago River overflows

April 19, 2013 7:52:56 PM PDT
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says more work needs to be done to prevent flooding in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood.

Pictures from flooding, storm

He toured the area Friday where one man says six feet of water poured into his basement. Some residents urged the city to develop a flood prevention plan.

"A lot more work has to be done and that's what I was just talking to the staff about," Emanuel said. "Which is to get the resources here so where the curve is on the river we can re-channel that so you actually prevent all the type of flooding."

The U.S. geological survey says the level of the Chicago River was nine inches higher than during the last big flood there in 2008.

The Chicago River crested at 8.57 feet on Thursday, and fell below flood stage on Friday. The river will continue to recede, and is expected to hit 6-feet on Saturday.

Now residents who live near the north branch of the Chicago River are starting the cleanup. The storm water flooded basements and, in some cases, did some major damage.

More than 6-feet of swirling water tossed around the furniture, appliances and electronics inside Nelson Reyes' basement.

"This is garbage because even the wall will be garbage," Nelson Reyes said. He had a $7,000 drainage system.

"All my memorabilia are gone. I got about 5,000 baseball cards, you know, gone," Neil Reyes, son, said.

David Carranza's home was also hit. He tried to sandbag.

"A lot of cleanup. We have to take all the baseboards off, check out the dry wall and see what's damaged down there," David Carranza said.

Kevin Krstovich had five-feet of water in the basement of his home on Monticello Avenue during the height of Thursday's storm.

"They finally sandbagged, and as soon as they got the sandbags up the sewers started taking the water down," Kevin Krstovich, resident, said.

The Chicago Fire Department went door-to-door checking on residents Friday morning while city crews continued to sandbag in the neighborhood. Chicago police and fire command posts are set up near Pulaski and Lawrence to organize flood relief efforts in Albany Park.

It is the second time this community has had to endure significant flooding in five years. Officials say on Thursday the Chicago River was nine-inches higher than in 2008, when the residents received federal aids.

"It feels like d?j? vu all over again," Shylo Bisnett, an organizer for Albany Park Neighbors, which has more than 200 members, said. Bisnett and others want to know why the city didn't start putting down sandbags earlier.

"I really would suggest highly that the city learn from not one, but two, massive floods and put together a prevention plan," Bisnett said. "Ask us as residents to help you, and come 10 hours beforehand."

"We're a little disappointed in the city that they didn't forecast this ahead of time," Neil Reyes said.


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