Emergency Crews Evacuate Residents Along Four Mile Creek

Des Moines Fire Department water rescue team helps person stranded due to Four Mile Creek flooding. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Four Mile Creek topped roads, flooded backyards and spilled into people’s homes – forcing them to evacuate early Sunday.

The rising creek started a race to higher ground.

“They were banging really hard telling everybody to leave the building,” said Amya Gines.

Not even an hour later, the Parkside East apartments in the 3500 block of East Douglas became part of the swollen creek.

“Water took everything. It took everything. It went in the fridge, it went in the room, it took our bed, it took everything,” said evacuated resident Alvin Jones.

His family and neighbors fled their first floor homes by boat, with only the clothes on their backs.

“It’s a very traumatic situation. You’re trying to make sure you’re comforting them and providing psychological first aid- just making sure their needs are being met,” said Keith Kuperman, Red Cross Disaster Program Manager.

While the Red Cross mobilizes to meet those basic needs, first repsonders were still working to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for.

“We initially responded here for one person stranded. While we were in route, we were informed there’s possibly five more, three adults, two children,” said Lt. Brian Davis of the Des Moines Fire Department.

The Des Moines Fire Department’s water rescue team launched a raft to give all six, plus two others who were stranded, a lift to dry land.

“I didn’t want to because there wasn’t so much water. But this morning, they made everyone leave,” said evacuated resident Tommika Johnson.

Lt. Davis says, “The best thing you can do right now is just avoid the water– avoid the areas that are affected.”

But that is easier said than done when your home sits right in the water`s path.

Jones said, “You know, there’s no place like home- you know as I say.”

The people who were evacuated from the apartments are staying with friends or family and also have the option of a shelter set up at Southeast Polk Middle School.