Stranded flood victims finally make it out of swamped neighborhoods

Published: Mar. 20, 2019 at 3:26 PM CDT
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Waters levels have gone down in many areas, including the city of Waterloo that became an island as the flood waters rose.

6 News spoke to people finally being able to make it out after being stranded in their homes for days.

Many said they’d been stuck since last Thursday because of collapsing roads as the Elkhorn River washed over them.

On Wednesday afternoon we saw dozens of cars making their way out of Waterloo. The people inside told us this was the first time it's been safe to drive out since last week.

They say they had no safe water to use, that they had to make do with the food they had at home. And that today, many of them were able to finally shower and head out to go grocery shopping.

Neighbors we spoke to said, looking back, they might have chosen to evacuate.

Michelle Aschenbrenner, of Waterloo, said, "I think knowing what we know now if you see a sign like that you take it much more seriously. Better safe than sorry."

Mark Aschenbrenner added, "When they said it's gonna flood, you know, my past experience, we'd be able to get in and out. There would be a foot of water over the road so we didn't really panic. I had no clue it would be what it was."

They told us of roads flooded beneath five to six feet of water.

Waterloo’s Jamie Shukert said, “Water was everywhere, Now the road’s collapsed - still a big mess.”

We saw dozens of people driving out of Riverside Lakes near Waterloo as we were making our way in. Jamie said, “We got trapped in here Thursday night.”

Michelle Aschenbrenner said, “I don't think people east of 204th Street really understand what it's been like the last 5 or 6 days.”

We found 228th Street washed out by the Elkhorn River and parts of the street with crater-like holes.

Keith Heinrich said as soon as he heard the water levels were going down, he went straight to the store to get groceries for his neighbors. “I got some for my neighbor and myself and then we bought some Clorox bleach just in case anybody needs it to help clean up.”

Henirich showed us the lower level of his home bumped up to the river where he says inches of water quickly seeped in.

His wife found a crafty way to do laundry and even get some of the mud out of their clothing. “I thought, ‘why can't we just turn this and drain it out?’”

She says this disaster has neighbors helping out any way they can - even some she's never met until now. “When we met him the water came all the way to the top of his shoe and he didn't hesitate. He just came in and helped us lift furniture up.”

The couple had to tear out all their carpet and they’re still working on drying the floors.