Chicago residents face flooding troubles

June 20, 2009 (CHICAGO) The rain helped to flood basements and down trees. However, Saturday's weather cooperated for clean-up efforts. Still, some residents on Chicago's Northwest Side say the flooding could have been avoided, and they are pointing fingers at officials at a nearby cemetery.

One lung cancer survivor said she was afraid after the rain waters flooded her home for a second time, making it a dangerous place to live.

"I'm literally scared. If my cancer reappears, I'm dead, just dead," said resident Joanne Kaszczysyn.

Kaszczysyn's neighbor, Doris Kemreit, said it wasn't the weather only that was to blame.

"The water was so heavy it blew the last part out and blew that door off," Kemreit said pointing to her damaged home. "Nobody opened that drain in the corner. So, weather that was part of it, too, I'm not sure."

Residents in Kemriet's neighborhood say they've all lost thousands of dollars in precious memories. One couple that lost a good portion of a sports memorabilia collection said, if a neighbor hadn't unclogged one drain, their damage would have been a lot worse.

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  • "The water works department came out here yesterday evening after everything happened and told us that the cemetery, apparently, has had their separate reservoir,a separate water system for to, and they don't. They, somehow, tapped into ours, and that's why we get backed up," Diana Rocuant said.

    The water department did not confirm for ABC7 Chciago any violations against the cemetery.

    Neighbors say they want the problem, whatever it is, to be corrected.

    "My father is buried there. My grandparents are both buried there. My biggest concern is how are they really caring for my loved ones?" flooded resident Tina Boysen said.

    "Now we're going to have to try to do something as far as a community and try to get a neighborhood together, and hopefully someone will listen," Nick Ruggieri said.

    Officials at the cemetery told ABC7 Chicago that the rain event was unforeseen, but they apologize to the members whose homes were flooded, and they say they are planning to alleviate the runoff from the cemetery grounds but need a few days of dry weather to get that started.

    The storms knocked out electricity to more than 100,000 ComEd customers. Saturday evening, almost 20,000 of them were still without power, with 7,200 in the north suburbs and 5,900 to the south. Approximately 5,900 of those customers were in the city of Chicago.

    ComEd said it hoped to have most power restored by noon Sunday.

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