Forest View residents voice concerns, anger over flooding

April 23, 2013 (FOREST VIEW, Ill.)

Destroyed belongings are piling up along neighborhood streets, and residents say they are not getting the help they need. Furniture, clothing, boxes of memories - all are piled with other trash on the curbs in Forest View, waiting for a front-end loader to scoop it up and take it to a dumpster.

"I can't believe that just little bit of water would cause something like this, just unreal," said flood victim Shari Gill.

"Just seeing all this stuff go, some people - I don't want to cry - I've been wanting to get my basement clean for a long time, and I think God just helped me clean it up faster," said Joyce Gill, flood victim.

It seemed like nearly all of Forest View's 700 residents were at Tuesday night's meeting. Some, like Jeff Ehresman, suffered huge losses in the flood.

"We come back two days later and my whole house was completely engulfed in water," said Ehresman. "We lost everything."

Many residents are angry. The flood waters came suddenly over the banks of the Des Plaines River.

Town officials told those at tonight's meeting they had very little warning...and no chance to warn residents.

"This has never happened to the village even remotely like this, as a result, it took us time to start to get information," said Forest View Village President Richard Grenvich.

Many residents disagreed. Some had to be rescued from their homes by boats.

"This is a small town -- he could have got somebody on that fire engine with a bullhorn - circled two blocks - they do it at Christmas with Santa Claus and it gets everybody out there," said flood victim Marlene Kedl.

Forest View covers a little more than a square mile. Longtime Forest View residents say despite being in close proximity to the Des Plaines River, they've never had major flooding in the past. Police are patrolling, keeping looters away, even as they deal with cleanup of their own building.

"It gutted our whole police and fire departments, and we had to close it down and evacuate ourselves," said Public Safety Director Larry Brauk.

Many residents are filling out forms documenting the damage to their homes. They hope ultimately for federal financial assistance.

"I don't know if my house is livable," said victim Donna Winkler.

Fran Montoro has no idea where to even begin documenting everything she lost in the flood for her insurance company. Suffice to say -- it was a lot.

"It's just so frustrating because it came so fast, it came really fast, and we didn't have any time, so we weren't able to save much of anything," said Montoro.

Some residents asked why the tornado sirens were not employed to warn residents of rising flood waters, but officials said the reason was that children are taught to seek the lowest location if the sirens go off, which is about the worst place you can be in a flood.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.