Flash floods destroy Cranston apartments, dozens displaced - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Flash floods destroy Cranston apartments, dozens displaced

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By: Alexandra Cowley


 Nearly 60 people are displaced this Labor Day after heavy rains in Cranston. Flash floods swept through the Dean Estate Apartments, destroying everything in its path. Water was so high, people had to be rescued by boat. 

Fire crews were on scene all day and night working to pump nearly 6ft of water out of the basement and first floor apartments. The southbound lane of Oaklawn avenue, is shut down because police believe the road may be unstable. This after a firefighter fell through a sinkhole while inside.

Both Dean Estate buildings are empty, residents not allowed to return, and as of Monday night, they don't know when they'll be able to.

This Labor Day will be remembered as a nightmare for the families who live in the Dean Estates apartments in Cranston.

"It came like 30 seconds quick, there was no time to think, but to get the kids out," said tenant Ryan Duxbury.

"The scariest thing I've ever been through horrible," said Kathy Benjamin.

Kathy Benjamin doesn't even live at the estates. She was taking care of a patient who needs oxygen, when the waters came rushing in.

"It literally took the door down of her apartment, the force of the water, and it came up so fast like you just had to react and do what you had to scary," she explained.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung was on scene assessing the damage.

"It was just this sudden, quick downpour, I think they were said there was over 3 inches in that short period of time. Our systems just couldn't handle that amount of straight water in such a short period," he said.

The water level peaked at 6ft, forcing crews to rescue residents by boat. Everyone made it out safely, including people's dogs and cats. Only one resident was transported to the hospital for shortness of breath. Residents living on the first level lost everything.

One firefighter fell through a sinkhole while inside trying to move around the pumps. He was transported to the hospital, and is expected to be okay. After that incident, fire crews left the scene, and called it a night around 10 PM.

Some residents left with family and friends, others were put up in a local hotel by the Red Cross. About five families were assisted by the Red Cross.

The building inspector and owner are expected to return on Tuesday morning to assess the damage and determine when the residents can return.



(C) WLNE-TV 2013




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