Residents Near Fourmile Creek Wait for Help From Public Works

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A Des Moines neighborhood is recovering on Tuesday after more than six feet of water from Fourmile Creek flooded nearby homes.

Residents living along East 35th and Hull say flooding isn't new, but this time was the worst they've experienced. Some homes have severe damage, with piles of debris accumulating by the day. Now, Des Moines Public Works is stepping in to help with removal.

In Des Moines, residents must first request assistance by calling 2-1-1. Then, the city inspects the property. Some homes on East Hull were condemned, marked with red signs and deemed not safe to live in or repair.

After the inspection, Public Works is given the green light to haul away piles of debris.

"When I looked out the window, I knew we were in trouble," resident Tammy Johnson said. "It came up over the fence and in the back, it was probably chest high in our garage, we lost all our vehicles."

Johnson estimates the damage to her home will top $100,000, and she's not alone. Down the street, Tim Osborn’s parents lost everything.

“There are really no words for it, I mean I don’t have the words for it. Every time you walk in you see something else that is just completely gone," Osborn said.

But the Osborns don’t have to do it alone--dozens of friends and family members are helping.

The city said one potential option to prevent another flood involves a buyout.

“We have projects just now beginning that might inspire others to volunteer their properties to serve as detention basins, and we would buy easements for the right for the water to be there," Public Works Director Jonathan Gano said.

Back in 2008, Johnson asked the city to buy her out.

“I went to every meeting last time to get bought out and they wouldn’t do it," Johnson said.

She says she doesn't know why, and now she’s left cleaning up from yet another flood.

The city says the money to buy out homeowners comes from a storm water utility fund, which comes from taxpayer money.