EAST ST. LOUIS, IL. (KPLR) – The water has gone down, but worry continues to wash over residents of an East St. Louis neighborhood hit hard by flash flooding Thursday afternoon.
Homes along Terrace Drive, Mary Avenue and 68th Street are situated near a large storm water drainage ditch which overflowed during the heavy rain.
That area has flooded before, but it has been a while since it has flooded this badly.
Mayor Alvin Parks says the he knows the neighborhood is prone to flooding, but this storm was extraordinary.
“This area has had issues of flooding off and on for about 20 years due to the fact that the Harding Ditch is in this area and due to the fact that they area is a low lying area,” Parks said.
“All the water here basically tripled.”
City workers from East St. Louis spent the afternoon and early evening trying to move residents to safety, using fire trucks and dump trucks to slowly navigate the rising water. Evacuees were able to spend the night at the Clyde C. Jordan Senior Center, sleeping on cots provided by the American Red Cross.
Jeanette Bruce and her daughter were among those who were rescued.
“They said the pumps are not working and they don`t have the money to fix it, this is ridiculous,” Bruce said.
Parks admits the controller for the pumps is broken, keeping them from running at maximum efficiency, but he says the pumps themselves are working, and that the controller will be fixed.
Although the city was able to convince some residents to leave their homes, the evacuations were not mandatory, so some residents chose to stay.
“I can stick it out,” said Lenroy Short. “I can deal with the tragedy and the consequences. We`ll pull through.”
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