Pumps fail, flood gates close and Watertown neighborhood evacuated

Flooding forced evacuations in a portion of East Moline early Tuesday, July 1, 2014. The Watertown neighborhood was especially deluged with high water.

Failed pumps and closed flood gates made a bad situation even worse in Watertown.

For these homes, it became a perfect storm for flooding.

Get more coverage of the impact from local flooding – click here.

A swirling current was surrounding homes on 12th Street Tuesday morning.

“You know it’s Watertown,” said resident Elroy Rummel. “But you don’t expect this.”

Water surrounded his house and filled his basement from floor to ceiling.

Rummel isn’t sure where to turn. The first-time flood victim is numb.

“Work so hard,” he said. “You lose everything in an instant.”

The overnight storms even shocked longtime residents like Charles Clark.

“It’s going to be hard,” he said.

After living more than 45 years on 13th Street, this is one of the worst floods. His truck remains stuck in the water.

“It shouldn’t happen like this all the time,” he said.

“People just can’t afford this,” added his friend, Mack Wilson.

Even a stranded car shows damage associated with this flooding. First responders had to rescue the driver.

That flooding saddens East Moline Mayor John Thodos. When the same thing happened in 2008, the city stepped in to help residents when the feds did not.

While surveying the damage and talking with residents, Thodos said East Moline will explore applying for disaster assistance.

“Our biggest thing is to try to make things as normal as possible,” he said. “Unfortunately, for people down here, it’s not going to be normal as possible for a while.”

As shock sets in, homeowners have big decisions looming on the horizon. Some have insurance while others don’t. Some will be staying in East Moline, and others will be giving up.

“Yeah, moving out,” Clark said. “Tired of going through this.”

Friends are putting up Elroy Rummel for a few nights.  The American Red Cross is also operating a temporary shelter at Glenview Middle School, 3100 7th St., East Moline.

“House is bought, so I’ve got to stay,” Rummel concluded. “Guess we’ll pray it just doesn’t happen again.”

It’s a painful reality check for residents in Watertown.

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