Natoma residents clean up after Sunday’s flash flooding

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NATOMA, Kan. (KSNW) — Natoma residents on Monday started cleaning up following a flood that happened early Sunday.

Paradise Creek spilled out of its banks following heavy rain of up to six inches.

“I called the mayor, and I said you might want to start getting evacuations started, we’ve got water on its way,” said Dale Eickhoff, Natoma resident.

Fire Chief Keith Koelling said firefighters and wildlife rescue crews made 30 rescues on Sunday. He said one of his fire trucks is now out of service after something took out the axle on their way to another rescue.

Koelling said the water came much faster than Natoma was ready for.

“Didn’t have much warning here, but at least, we got people warned down towards Paradise and all that, and they actually had time to get stuff moved out and themselves moved out you know so which really helped a lot,” said Chief Koelling, Russell County Fire District.

Homes, a secondhand store, and a downtown restaurant were hit, volunteers spent the day clearing out belongings that were flooded.

Homeowner Ronda Hitchman said the water was up to her hips. She said losing all of the things stored in her basement was hard to see Monday. “It is a lot of tears though right, there is a lot of tears,” she said.

Hitchman said she reached out to Red Cross but said they couldn’t help her because it was only in her basement. She said the damage will cost thousands. Her daughter said it was hard to see all of the memories get washed away.

“As we’re pulling things up from the basement, there’s my dads records, there’s these memories there that are destroyed, gone, and you can never get those back,” said daughter Rebecca Roggy.

The flood ruined over 300 flags from the American Legion Auxiliary building. President Laah Tucker said she worries there won’t be enough flags to honor veterans on Memorial Day.

“The flood came through the back door, came through the front door, and just left silt and mud,” said Tucker. “We hope we can find a way to get more flags.”

The community is taking donations to help get back on their feet. There is an account at Southwind Bank. You can call (785) 885-4234 to either donate or find out how you can help.

USD 399 Natoma-Paradise-Waldo said several teachers and students were made available to watch any children of parents working to clean up after the flood. Residents said the flood caused more damage than even the flood of 1993.

Gov. Laura Kelly issued a state of disaster emergency declaration for flooding that occurred in counties throughout the state. The declaration authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria. The counties included are Anderson, Atchison, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn, Lyon, McPherson, Miami, Morris, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Reno, Rooks, Russell, Saline, Shawnee, and Wabaunsee.

To check the latest river flooding, click here.

GALLERY: Natoma flooding

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