Frustrated Detroit-area residents clean up flooded homes

Jun 28, 2021, 9:32 AM | Updated: 10:52 am

DETROIT (AP) — A weekend storm in the Detroit area kept flooded sections of Interstate 94 closed for a third day Monday while disgusted homeowners trudged to the curb with possessions ruined by a gross stew of water and sewage that backed up into basements.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said “old infrastructure combined with climate change” and power outages created the misery. Thousands of people were affected in Detroit, Dearborn and the Grosse Pointe communities.

“People are suffering,” Whitmer acknowledged.

The National Weather Service said more than 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) of rain fell Friday night and Saturday morning in some areas. Grosse Pointe Park said it measured 8.1 inches (20.5 centimeters) over 24 hours.

In Grosse Pointe Farms, piles of spoiled exercise bikes, sleeper sofas, luggage, hockey equipment, toys and family keepsakes were dumped along the curb. The city sent a trash truck out on Sunday to try to make a dent in the mess.

Marcos Bonafede of Grosse Pointe Park said water reached the ceiling of his basement and killed his cat, Pancho.

“This loss paralyzed me,” Bonafede said in a Facebook plea for help to clear out the basement.

Flooded homes were linked to a stormwater pumping station failure in Detroit at 1 a.m. Saturday, Grosse Pointe Park told residents. Detroit officials planned to speak to reporters Monday afternoon.

On I-94, a series of pumps is intended get rid of water on the major highway, which has many sections below ground level in Detroit. Power outages stymied the effort, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Parts of I-94 in Detroit remained closed Monday, though the state was “making a lot of progress,” state police Lt. Mike Shaw said.

“There were areas that probably had 18 feet of water. You’re actually seeing pavement,” Shaw said.

Police, meanwhile, were still trying to tow abandoned vehicles that stalled on I-94 when drivers believed they could get through the water.

Nicole Connaire of Grosse Pointe Park said she was looking for a garden statue of a little boy and girl.

“They floated away somewhere and we cannot for the life of us locate them anywhere. … It might bring some joy to this otherwise crazy time,” she said.

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Frustrated Detroit-area residents clean up flooded homes