July 02, 2015 - 7:07 PM
KAMLOOPS - A construction team sweeps debris from Westsyde Road as residents of the nearby Oak Dale trailer park return home to survey the damage, throw away perishables and connect with neighbours after a flash flood tore through the neighbourhood earlier this week.
On Tuesday, June 30, Emergency crews evacuated about 60 homes after a flash flood covered the road and washed out a section of the park. Emergency staff transferred evacuees, along with pets and some belongings, to the Interior Savings Centre.
“One guy was walking with water up to his knees,” resident Trudy Cochet recalls, adding the force of the water was strong enough to carry away two cinderblocks on her drive-way.
City staff rescinded the evacuation order and state of emergency alert in stages yesterday, July 1, and told residents they could go back home, though power is not expected to be restored before Friday.
Half of the park still has no power, no hot water and some say they can smell sewage.
“I know there were some concerns on that,” Mayor Peter Milobar says of the sewage smell, adding the city’s public works department is looking into potential septic problems.
Cochet says she decided to come home from the evacuation centre early, but notes it wasn’t for a lack of service from staff, who provided extra help for the wheelchair-bound woman. She says she and her husband are nervous about looters raiding empty homes.
Const. Jason Epp, a spokesperson for the Kamloops RCMP, says he hasn’t heard of any break and enters in the park though.
While she has come home early, she hadn't fully assessed the damage to her house yet.
“We haven’t looked at the damage (to our house yet). We’re so tired and stressed,” she says.
Most who were hit by the rushing waters face landscaping damage to gardens and in trailer crawlspaces, which are now full of mud.
John Pleva, who returned home to empty out his freezer, was one of two houses hit hardest by the water.
“I got home from Vancouver, had a nap. I made a coffee and then I heard this ‘whoosh’,” he says.
Pleva came outside to check out the rainstorm and found himself standing in four inches of water.
The water washed out his and his neighbours' backyard and garden which are now made up of mud and small spokes of grass. The water ran between the two trailers and into the roadway. Eventually, Pleva says, the water turned into a mini waterfall.
“It was like a firehouse,” he says as he stands in mud-caked boots.
He points his cane to the bottom half of his trailer.
“That’s what I’m concerned about,” he says. “Whether my trailer is still supported."
On the other side of Pleva, his neighbour’s yard was virtually untouched, save for a little mud in the garden bed. She has offered Pleva a helping hand if he needs it.
Despite the damage, the mood across the park remains upbeat. Those with undamaged homes are offering assistance with cleanup. One woman brought popsicles to city crews and others shovelling mud from their driveways. Kamloops Red Cross members are walking the park to see if anyone needs extra help.
The parks’ owners drive on roads still slick with sludge to patrol the lots and a man driving an excavator pushes what’s left of the road to the side so vehicles can make it home tomorrow.
It’s a waiting game in the meantime as a full complete survey remains. Information is available to those who seeking additional financial assistance for flood damage and the city is hosting an informaiton session for affected residents on disaster financial assistance on Friday. The session will take place at 11 a.m. at Parkside Lounge.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at email@example.com, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015