Flooding evacuates 200-unit apartment complex in Pensacola

Jun 11, 2012

The following article was published in The Pensacola News-Journal on June 11, 2012:

Flooding evacuates 200-unit apartment complex in Pensacola


By Louis Cooper

Sunday afternoon, a pile of wet shoes sat in a chair in Calvin Grace’s apartment on Pensacola’s Westside.

He had hoped they might dry out.

“I don’t think it’s going to work,” said Grace, 52. “I think I’ll have to give them up.”

Grace is a nine-year resident of Forest Creek Apartments, a 200-unit complex on Patton Drive for low-income residents.

His and many of the lowest-lying apartments in the complex were flooded during the deluge Saturday that saw more than 13 inches of rain fall in the Pensacola area.

Power has been restored to a portion of the complex as of late Monday morning, and the manager of the complex was on site assessing damage.

The water invaded Grace’s home at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

“I was in the kitchen washing dishes, and the rain started coming down harder and harder and harder,” he said.

“All of a sudden, the water started coming through the front door. I tried to stop it with towels, and that didn’t do any good. Then it started coming through the back door. I didn’t know what to do.”

The water had receded from Grace’s darkened apartment by Sunday afternoon, although some units and vehicles parked at the complex remained flooded. A mud line on the wall showed that the water in Grace’s home had been about knee-deep.

A pile of soaked bath towels in front of his sliding-glass back door attested to Grace’s futile attempt to stop the water.

“My whole unit was flooded,” said the former maintenance worker who is now disabled. “My TV, furniture — everything I’ve got is gone.”

This is is the second time Grace’s apartment has flooded. It also saw water from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but, he said, this weekend’s flood was worse.

Laura Merritt, a resident of Forest Creek for about five years, said the American Red Cross and the Escambia County Fire Department responded to the complex on Saturday, rescuing some people from their apartments by boat.

“Everybody was asked to evacuate,” Merritt said. “People were left with no transportation and no place to go. The majority of the people have left.”

Merritt — whose unit did not see flooding — served as a point of contact for the Red Cross, helping distribute meals to those still in the darkened complex on Sunday.

Grace, who had no renter’s insurance, stayed with a friend in the complex Saturday night, albeit with no power. He planned to stay with family off-premises Sunday night.

He’s not sure what he will do in the long term.

“I’m going to wait and see what the Red Cross is going to do,” he said.

View the original article here:  http://www.pnj.com/article/20120611/NEWS01/306110006/Flooding-evacuates-200-unit-apartment-complex-Pensacola?odyssey=nav|head