Reporting Mai Martinez
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Given the drought conditions gripping the Midwest, the Chicago are really needs rain, but on Sunday, some areas got much more than they could handle.
The downpour caused basements of homes in the Clearing neighborhood near Midway International Airport to flood. In some cases, water was ankle-deep.
As CBS 2′s Mai Martinez found, it was a long night for homeowners trying to stay ahead of the rain and flooding.
Tom Ramos said, once the water started coming into his basement Sunday night, his family had little time to even get things off the floor.
“Water wasn’t draining. The water was coming up, and you smelled that sewer,” explained Ramos.
Ramos said, at one point, the water was almost up to his knees.
When he realized he wouldn’t be able to stop the water, he grabbed his camera – hoping to make a case for reimbursement from his landlord, or insurance company.
“I have to show some kind of evidence and proof,” he explained.
Ramos said the flooding caused about $5,000 in damages, including the loss of a $1,900 treadmill, and countless other family belongings.
Ramos said, because there was sewer water mixed in with the rain water, his family chose to throw out anything that was soaked.
“Mold builds up, bacteria builds up, and it’s unhealthy. It’s unsanitary,” he said.
It was a similar story at his neighbor, David Goodpaster’s house. Goodpaster said he knew they were in trouble around 8 p.m. Sunday.
“Within in 10 minutes, it just started building up really fast. So I took the push broom and, for four hours, I just kept pushing all the water into the pit,” he explained. “If I stopped for 10 or 15 minutes, it would go from a half-inch to two inches right away.”
But his efforts weren’t enough to save all his belongings.
“We lost all our carpeting, all our padding,” he explained.
Goodpaster said he reported the flooding to Chicago’s 311 help line, and when someone from the city’s Water Department stopped by to give him a pamphlet about the city’s “Private Drain Program,” he asked them why the area floods.
According to Goodpaster, the man told him, “the catch basin is too small for our block, and we have to petition the alderman” to have a bigger catch basin installed.
Neither the Water Department nor Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) returned calls to discuss the catch basin issue.
The area around Midway received 3.66 inches or rain Sunday, compared to O’Hare, which only received .57 inches of rain Sunday.