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Heavy Rains Means Flooded Basements For Many Families

Posted at 10:37 PM, Apr 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-15 15:38:34-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. – Heavy rains proving to be too much for some drain systems to handle, sending water into West Michigan homes.

For the Johnson family in Comstock Park, Tuesday’s flood isn’t the first time they’ve came home to find their basement underwater.

“When it starts, you just can’t stop it,” said Tim Johnson as he and his son worked to the keep the generators and pumps going in his yard.

He says home is situated at the bottom of a small hill, and near a county storm drain that just can’t keep up when the rains keep coming.   Twigs, leaves, and dirt on the hill gets picked up by the rainwater, clogs the drain, and sends a river into the basement with such force, it busts the window.

“I rushed home and that’s when I saw the fire department here, digging a trench to try to divert the water, but it was too late.”

This time, Johnson says there was roughly six feet of water in the basement.  A filthy waterline is etched just a foot or so from the ceiling.  Furniture, the furnace, a dryer, and his son’s bedroom were destroyed.

“Clothes, my bed’s gone,” sighs Matt Johnson.  “I had a PS3, a TV, stereo, my diploma from my high school was down there.”

It’s a familiar situation for the family, as a similar flood happened in 2010.  And since they’re unable to get flood insurance, Johnson says he’s out thousands of dollars, again.

As Matt returned home from his college classes, he wasn’t surprised to learn his bedroom was ruined.

“I saw the water starting to surround the house and I already knew what was happening.”

He says he didn’t even go downstairs, instead, staying outside in the rain to help dig the trench that now runs through almost the entire property.

Dad says a representative from Kent County was at the house earlier, but offered little as far as a solution.

“(The county) tell us there’s not much they can do, they were here earlier, but he didn’t say much.”

The family is bringing in a restoration company Wednesday morning, so they can start to dry things out in the basement and determine if anything can be salvaged.