Arcadia flooding leaves behind mess, displaces residents

Arcadia residents are trying to pick up the pieces after Thursday morning’s storm and heavy flooding.

Arcadia’s fire chief, Jeff Halvorsen, said the department helped evacuate nearly a dozen families downtown early Thursday morning.

The Red Cross has opened up a shelter at Holy Family Catholic Church, 532 McKinley St. in Arcadia, for those displaced in the city, including Sara Yein and her three sons.

“There’s nothing we could do about it,” she said.

This is nothing new for Yein. Three days after she and her family moved into their Arcadia home in 2010, they were hit by some of the worst flooding the city had seen.

“We completely lost everything,” she said.

Now in the most recent round of severe flooding, Yein is again in the same boat.

“I think it’s a little bit worse this time,” she said.

“Water came so fast that it didn’t have a place to go and it entered a lot of houses and basements,” Halvorsen said.

The fire department helped evacuate families, including Yein and her sons.

“We just wanted to get out of there,” she said. “I got really scared because of the first flooding.”

The Yeins and three other families came to the Red Cross shelter, where cots and food are at hand.

“We want to make sure our community has a safe place to go,” Red Cross volunteer Tonya Allard said.

Yein said her house on West Cleveland Street is currently unsafe and unlivable.

She is grateful for the help she’s received but wishes the city of Arcadia could do more.

“I haven’t seen anybody go through my area and ask the neighbors if we are OK or what’s going on or what’s needed,” she said. “We have to come (to the Red Cross) to get some help.”

However, as a small city, Halvorsen said the city is working to help but can only do so much.

“The fire department is assisting with pumping of the water out. (Residents) have to go in and clean up,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can to meet the needs of what people need from us.”

He’s hoping for help from the state to improve the city’s protection against floods.

“That’s the next step,” Halvorsen said.

For Yein, she knows her next step, but it’s tough to know where to start.

“We just need to clean up,” she said.

Yein said having a dumpster near her house to throw out trash would be a huge help for her and her neighbors.

According to Arcadia’s mayor, the city did provide two dumpsters elsewhere in the city for immediate relief.

Allard said the Red Cross shelter will be open until further notice, and she’s waiting on a shipment of cleanup kits for residents.