Residents cleaning up after flooding damages apartments

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ST GEORGE, Utah - Residents in southern Utah are digging out of the mud after a flash flood ripped through their small apartment complex Tuesday morning.

Eight apartments got several feet of water, and city officials said they’re still assessing potential infrastructure damage.

The rains come just two weeks after another massive storm filled the streets with water. And residents said that made Tuesday’s flash floods worse.

Landlord Jeff Lee said there was a river 40-feet wide and about a foot deep rushing through the property. Neighbors grabbed shovels and sandbags, but they said by then it was too late. All that water ended up in the eight basement apartments.

“We only got like, one and two feet inside our apartment,” flood victim Jared Everett said. “Enough to get all of the electronics and all that.”

Other apartments got hit worse. Everett’s next-door neighbor had four feet of water in his living room. The force of the water was so great, it burst through the door.

“Very crazy,” Neighbor Michelle Rudd said. “I’ve lived here for 17 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Lee said one estimate is upward of $40,000 in damage, and that doesn’t include property loss. He said the frustration is compounded by the fact residents believe it could have been avoided.

"The drains clogged up in the streets above,” Lee said. “They probably clogged up from the last storm two weeks ago, which was almost as bad as this. And they probably didn’t get cleaned out.”

St. George Public Works director Cameron Cutler said crews have been working overtime to get streets cleaned up and gutters cleared out. Perhaps the ones above Lee’s complex didn’t get cleared, but Cutler said it wasn’t ignored.

“Those [areas] that are just clean-up, do move down the line for priority,” Cutler said. “Until we can get to them, until we get those hazard issues taken care of. We did not get through that list when we had this storm hit. Obviously we’ll have another list that we form.”

Cutler said the recent storm set them back another several weeks as they look at possible infrastructure damage, and once again work at cleaning out drains.