Flood recovery efforts slow going


CANTONMENT, Fla. (WALA) – It has been one week since flooding hit our area, and residents in one neighborhood in Escambia County, Florida, still have trash in front of their homes.
It’s the Bristol Park neighborhood in Cantonment not far away from Interstate Ten.

DEBRIS ALMOST EVERYWHERE
As far as the eye can see in the neighborhood, debris is piled up in front of homes, and along the sides of streets.
There are refrigerators and hot water heaters, furniture and even a piano.

FIVE AND A HALF FEET OF WATER
Dan and Marinda Arachikavitz are working with cleanup crews to repair their home.
Water marks are still visible inside.
Dan said, “It was five and a half, six foot high water level.”
The family has flood insurance, but Marinda said not everything is covered.
She said, “As you’ll see over here, I’ve had to lay out everything, itemize every book.”
Marinda was out of town when the flood waters hit, but Dan got on the second floor to watch the water rise from Eight Mile Creek.
Dan said, “I was upstairs, and this was all a raging river.”
He saw some disturbing scenes.
Arachikavitz said, “The one guy was sitting on his car in the river, in his garage, flashing the rescue boats to come save him. This guy over here was flashing SOS signal on there, and they finally got him out.”

CHEST DEEP WATER IN 90 MINUTES

Across the street, Rodney Allen doesn’t have insurance. He said water was chest deep inside his home 90 minutes after getting in his garage.

Allen said, “We moved all the kids and the wife up to the plant shelf, did the best we could, waited until 2:30 in the morning, then, a boat finally came and picked us up: a wife, two kids, and a dog on the plant shelf, about 10 to 12 foot.”

GRABBED ON TO A TRAMPOLINE

Amanda Morton said she was driving down one of the streets and became trapped.

Morton said, “I got out of the truck and I went to the house over there. I grabbed on to the fence and I just pulled myself over as far as I could go. I saw they had a gate, so I knocked it down. The water was probably up to here on me.”

Morton said she started wading through the water and found something to keep her afloat.

She said, “I grabbed on to the trampoline they had back there just not to go under. The current was very strong and I got to their back door and I’m knocking and they let me in and they’re the ones that kind of saved my life.”

MEETING PLANNED FOR SATURDAY

But, life for the people in this neighborhood is nowhere near back to normal.

Dan Arachikavitz said, “I’ve been living outside because of the looters. We take turns going upstairs to go to sleep.”
Residents in the neighborhood plan to meet Saturday morning to talk about the next step on the road to recovery.

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