Flood Cleanup Efforts Begin

Wednesday, July 4th 2007, 10:43 am
By: News On 6

Kansas and Oklahoma flood victims have begun to clean up in areas where the water is receding. In Coffeyville, Kansas, the water is dropping, leaving a mess of oil and mud behind. The cleanup in Coffeyville has only begun for the people who had the least damage to their homes. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports the rest of the people are not being allowed back to their homes until the water drops and environmental testing can be done.

Jerry and Phyllis Wiles were some of the first people allowed back in the flooded neighborhoods of Coffeyville. Their house was just high enough to stay out of the water. Most of their neighbors were flooded out.

"We feel so fortunate that we're here, because we don't know how many people lost everything,” said Phyllis Wiles.

Because their home wasn't damaged, the city issued them a badge that serves as a pass to get in the neighborhood. So far, that's the only requirement for people who live in the flood zone, who were fortunate to be just above the water line.

"Nothing other than they just let us in, and if you don't live down here, you can't be down here," said Jerry Wiles.

In one neighborhood, the water level has dropped at least six feet, but there is still substantial flooding in hundreds of homes. At the water's edge, there is a band of crude oil left behind and it stains the sides of the houses. There are air quality monitoring crews driving around, and they have also begun checking homes to make sure they're safe.

Now that the water level has dropped, the extent of the damage in the flood areas is becoming clearer. Not many have even attempted to start cleaning up, but they've got a lot of work ahead of them.

Ed Todd is using elbow grease to clean off his camper. The oily flood reached the bottom of it, but his camper and his home were spared.

His neighbors just across the street were much lower in the water and their homes were soaked.

The Wiles say while living here for the last 60 years, they've never seen the water as high as it was.

"We had a 25-foot levee, and we got 30 feet of water, and it's pretty hard to keep it back you know,” Jerry Wiles said.

There is a town hall meeting Thursday at 2 p.m. for residents to get more information on what they should do next.

Watch the video: Residents Begin Cleaning Up After The Flood

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.