Floods leave basements smothered in black sludge

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Photo by Tereasa Nims
Rhonda Gutierrez kneels beside a third mound of items she and her husband had to remove from their 17th Street home near Northline in Wyandotte. Once one pile of furniture, many of the family’s pictures, saved papers, toys, children’s drawings is hauled away, they work on bringing another.

By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — Rhonda Gutierrez was doing laundry about 8:30 p.m. Monday when “black stuff” emerged from her basement drains, followed by water.

“It rose three feet in 10 minutes,” Gutierrez said of the incident in her 17th Street house. “We were not prepared for this. If there had been a flash flood warning I would have gotten stuff out.

“It just came so bad and just started rising and I was freaking out,” she added, after she and her husband had finished hauling a third large load of damaged items to the curb from the house they lived in for 11 years.

Most items touched by the sewer water couldn’t be salvaged because they were hazardous. Even items like pictures and other items store in plastic bins were destroyed after tipping over in the water.

“I’m so exhausted,” Gutierrez said. “We haven’t stopped since this happened.”

The water receded Tuesday, but Wednesday afternoon the black sludge remained unlike many years of the family’s possessions.

“Some of this stuff was irreplacable,” Gutierrez said.

Kevin Brown said he was walking on Biddle Avenue when the rain hit.

“I took cover under someone’s porch,” Brown said. “I was worried because I can’t swim.”

Brown said he waited for the rain to pass before leaving.

“I don’t think anyone was home, or they were inside taking shelter themselves,” Brown said Wednesday.

Brown wasn’t the only one seeking shelter.

Amber Laundau was driving a Mini Cooper on southbound I-75 near 11 Mile Road to her Allen Park house when the flooding caught her.

“I was stranded and thought my car was going to wash away,” she said Wednesday. “It was just raining and then all of a sudden, I couldn’t see anything because the rain was just blinding.”

She said she put her windows down so that she would be able to escape if the car filled with water.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)

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Photo by Tereasa Nims
A heap of items that residents in the 400 block of Biddle in Wyandotte couldn’t salvage after Monday’s flooding sits at curbside. Luggage, bags of toys, furniture and ironically a boogie board were set aside as trash.

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