Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Declared Disaster

There is no way I can describe what has happened to our city. I've made several trips in town, camera in hand, and when I went to take a picture of the tremendous loss, had to put my camera down. I don't want to exploit the terrible loss of others just to make a statement on my blog. I will post a few pics of landmarks, but not of personal homes.
A view of our county

Most heartbreaking to me is the loss in Windsor Addition. My father-in-law developed this subdivisions several years ago and our family built most all of the homes there, on more than 120 lots. Not all, but most of those people have lost everything. We know a lot of these people which brings it much closer to home. Flood waters from Hawcreek came rushing in, filled basements & overflowed into the main living areas. Thankfully, no one was even hurt in the evacuation.
Second Street Bridge was rumored to have collapsed...but all bridges are safe

Karen drove through the subdivision on Sunday and the sight brought her to tears. People were bringing their wet belongings out to dry, draping their wet clothes, linens & rugs in the sunshine. What was ruined became piles of filthy trash. You could look down each street and it seemed to be mountains of ruin. Karen worked with an RN that lived there & she has lost everything on their main floor. Jack, our electrician, lives there too, and told Bob "all I have left is a shell". Our dentist lives in the subdivision & Bob saw his granddaughter carrying damaged things to the curbside.

Bob's aunt & uncle live there also. We have always complained of their steep driveway, but now can be thankful for it, as it saved them from loosing their home.

Entrance to Mill Race Park, Downtown

at East Fork of White River

But that is just a little corner of our county's devastation. Darin & Amy live just down the road from Windsor Place. Their subdivision was one of the first to flood. Their finished basement completely filled with water. At one point a wall of mud & sand burst the window open & tons of the muddy mixture came spilling in. All of their neighbors suffered the same loss, but not all had as much mud & sand.

Over the bridge from them is Candlelight Trailer Park. It was swamped with water & many homes are in ruin. Central Avenue became a lake. Kerrigan's Daddy lives there & he has major damage to his home.

Around the corner Cummins Engine Plant I was flooded. Their medical buildings windows were smashed in by the wall of water & swamped. Cummins Child Daycare & the Tech Center, just across the creek were in the pathway of the water. Along Pleasant Street homes were ruined, including the father of Martha, one of our church members. Mariah Meat Packing Company was flooded. Premier Ag's grain elevators were flooded & were in danger of collapsing. Yesterday a convoy of semis helped empty the bins.

Up Washington Street White River overflowed & raced into the two lagoons which are surrounded by beautiful homes. Many with lower levels lost there things. The Coca Cola Plant & other businesses & homes were ruined.

Eastbrook Plaza was one of the worst hit. Irwin Union Bank, the bridal shop, Alley Frame Shop, the grocery store, a pet store, The Furniture Shop, The Ark Book & Gift, China Buffet, a furniture rental store, a tanning booth shop, & more lost almost all of their merchandise.

On the west end of town Hwy 46 was submersed in the muddy muck. McDonalds was flooded & is still closed today. Other restaurants & businesses suffered damage but most have reopened.

There has been loss over in Hope. We just learned today that our friend, Danny, has lost his home. All of Hope is without water because of a break in the main water line.

Saddest, is Columbus Regional Hospital is closed, possibly for months. Today's Republic showed pictures of the inside of the building, letting us know how extensive the damage was. Doctors are having to get credentials for other hospitals, emergency medicine for our area is being planned. All employees have been told to not return to work until further notice. But they are receiving a paycheck tomorrow, have been told they may need to be available for clean up, and are having several employee meetings on Friday.

Bartholomew County was only one of twenty counties in Indiana that have been declared disaster areas. It is hard to imagine how quickly this happened and how huge of a loss there is. Most people do not have flood insurance so they will not be covered. FEMA has been here & says the Federal Government will help by giving "no interest" loans. But how can some pay the mortgage they already have, pay on a new loan, and perhaps have no work or maybe fewer hours?

Our city has stepped in and is quickly cleaning up this mess. Some of the mountains of trash are already disappearing. Street sweepers are scouring the streets, getting rid of the already stinking mud. Volunteers are walking up to home owners & offering to help however they can. Some that haven't been affected are pulling out their charcoal grills & cooking lunch for their weary neighbors. Amy told me of two sweet little girls that came around pulling a wagon full of water bottles, giving them to the thirsty workers.

Washed out area inbound on Hwy 46 West

There isn't much talk of anything else. People are overwhelmed. It will take months and perhaps years for some families to get back to normal. I felt such a wave of helplessness today. It reminded me of our 9/11 disaster, where we felt such a loss. I remember at that time how people banded together to help others and we are already seeing so much of that happen here. It is sad that sometimes horrible tragedy's are what bring us together.

Sinkhole at 46West & Willow Trace (old Carr Hill Road)

litered with dead, stinking fish!

For those of you that live far away, maybe this will give you a glimpse of what has happened. There is no way I can even touch on it. Our lives have definitely changed. We have to reach out to help our neighbors in need. Now you know why my posts have been quiet for a couple of days....I wasn't even sure I wanted to write this one.


Karen Walden said...

The video of inside of CRH on the republic website breaks my heart! I have walked up and down those basement hallways many times and yet I hardly recognize them through the layers of mud. The pictures on there of what I assume was our store room are unbelieveable.

That is so sad that Danny lost his home as well, I hadn't heard that.

I find myself sitting on here for hours scanning pictures and reading this stuff and my heart breaks!

Thanks for the post, I haven't been able to sit down and put my thoughts together of my day on Saturday at CRH. You will be glad you have penned this all down on your blog someday!

Denise said...

Wow, it is all so sobering, isn't it? So heartbreaking for people who have lost so much. :( Make you think about what really is important in life......

Sheila said...

Yes...sort of knocks the props out from under everything.

I've been in town & have seen another friends things on the street (Cathy on Washington Street). Churches are making up "clean up" buckets. Some have signs out that say "free clothing". Brad's Furniture is advertising that they have a shipment of mattresses coming in at a special low price for flood families. Seems like everyone is trying to do what they can.

Today is Bob's birthday & we just don't feel like having a big celebration. However...I must do a special post as it's a Big One for him. :)

Go to The Republics website for a sobering video of our hospital. Lots of pictures posted also.

Michelle said...

It's all very sad. I watched the video of the hospital on The Republic site and it's just amazing to me that the water could do such damage! Looks like a tornado went through the basement!

Kathy said...

I saw the video and like Karen I remember walking in those halls in the basement. It's heart breaking and unbelievable. I'm glad the church didn't flood again! Now, if it would just quit raining!! We had more hard rain today. I'm glad we don't live close to any rivers or creeks and we live in a "hilly area". We've been thinking about all of you and praying for you.