Calumet City residents cleaning up after heavy rain floods casements, strands cars

ByTre Ward, Leah Hope, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, September 18, 2023
South suburbs cleaning up after flash flooding
Residents and businesses in th esouth suburbs are cleaning up after heavy rain led to flash flooding Sunday, with water in basements and stranded cars.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Help is being made available to people once again cleaning up from flooding.

Heavy rain led to flash flooding Sunday, leaving some south suburban neighborhoods under water and drivers stranded.

Calumet City was among the areas hardest hit.

At 7 a.m., people can come to the Calumet City Public Library, where a Disaster Recovery Center has been set up to find out what assistance is available to them.

Heavy rain led to flash flooding, in the south suburbs, leaving entire neighborhoods underwater and drivers stranded. Some places saw more than half a foot of rain in just a matter of hours.

From Chopper 7, you could see streets completely underwater.

Firefighters, waded through those high waters to rescue stranded drivers who had to abandon their cars.

Many business and residents, like Jovan Davison, are now dealing with flooded homes.

"You lose a lot of your things that are memories that you can't get back. And this is, like I said, the third time this has happened to me in this house in the last three months," Davison said.

Tom Ksiezak said flood precautions in his basement weren't enough as they had nearly three feet of water in the lowest level of their home.

"We knew that things flooded and put it on a nice platform 12 inches tall and it still wasn't tall enough," he said.

Free N Deed in Dolton was closed Monday and will remain closed for a week, maybe two, to clean up and restock after the storm. The food pantry is set up like a market. There are plans to open a thrift store next door, but that space was also flooded.

"It's very heartbreaking to see the work that we put into making it as nice as we possibly can to have a dignified shopping experience and see this," said Dr. Nicole Scott, director of Free N Deed and founder of the American Association of Single Parents. "Already our budget is tight, being a nonprofit we have to figure out how to stay afloat and continue."

The Calumet City Mayor says FEMA was already in the south suburbs, helping homeowners still reeling from flooding in June and July.

Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones spoke with ABC7 while he was surveying the damage in his city.

"We have one of the oldest sewer systems in the south suburbs, as do many communities," Jones said.

This comes after Jones said FEMA is already in the southern suburbs, helping homeowners after torrential rain and floods from the summer.

"They've been here since Thursday giving residents assistance, but now, we're going to have to apply for additional assistance through the governor to get this taken care of," Jones said.

In the meantime, Jones said the city is offering free towing services for drivers who cars were stranded in floodwater.

A video from a clothing store in Dolton shows water seeping through the front door, soaking the floors and some merchandise.

"The water was from the front of the store all the way to the back room," said Ed Kittaneh, the owner of Dress to Impress. "I haven't seen anything like that. We've been in the same location for 30 years. This is the first time it's flooded this bad."

SEE ALSO | 'People need help': Some West Side residents struggling to get FEMA flood assistance grants

He said the city will now have to apply for additional assistance through the governor to help residents impacted by Sunday's flash flooding.

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