Magic Valley Residents File Flood Damage Claims With City
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KTVB) – Last week the rain fell hard and fast in the Magic Valley with three-and-a-half inches pouring down in just a 72-hour period.
“It was probably some of the worst flooding that we have had in Twin Falls,” said City Manager Travis Rothweiler.
The rain fell so fast that the city’s drainage system started to back up. Residents living in neighborhoods including those on Sigrid Avenue had roughly two feet of water in their basements.
Kristina Anderson is still cleaning up the mess.
She came home from work on August 6 to find her basement knee deep with water and raw sewage that had bubbled up through a downstairs toilet and shower drain.
“Now I don’t know what to do and I think there is black mold coming in,” said Anderson.
Anderson has two children who have rooms in the basement and toys that were submerged in the water. Her son’s new school clothes were also ruined.
Down the street, 79-year-old Harold Joy’s basement and family possessions were also destroyed. His grandchildren came in to help gut the basement, remove items and dry it out.
Twin Falls City Risk Manager Gretchen Scott said she has helped 12 residents file damage claims to the city of Twin Falls for help.
“It’s not our job to make any kind of decision based on that we simply help them through the process,” she said. “We have an insurance company its called iCRIMP and they do an investigation. They follow a claims process and they send out an adjuster. Then they make a determination of negligence or liability.”
However, it’s not often that Scott shares good news.
“He provided them with a report and as a result he didn’t find any negligence on behalf of the city,” she said. “It wasn’t something that we did or did not do that caused the sewer backup.”
“I didn’t start crying until (she) started crying and told me that they couldn’t help us, and then I started crying,” said Anderson.
While Anderson waits on her insurance company to see if they can help cover the cost of damages, she isn’t hopeful.
“Most of my neighbors, they declined them, their insurance declined them. So I am just waiting to see tomorrow maybe,” said Anderson.
“It’s absolutely tragic for them,” said Rothweiler.
Rothweiler also told KTVB there are a number of steps the city will take to make sure flooding damage doesn’t happen again, one of which is better communication.
“We want to take a look at the manholes to ensure that the amount of water that seeps into those, from storm water, is limited in the future,” said Rothweiler.
For Kristina and her other neighbors the struggle and the cleanup continues.
“We didn’t know until it happened and now we are stuck. No insurance, probably, and I am a single mother and I can’t do this all by myself,” said Anderson.
KTVB also learned the city of Twin Falls has a required backflow device code and new construction must be equipped with the device. While the code is in place, the city has no inspection process.
Older homes like those on Sigrid Avenue don’t have those devices because they are grandfathered-in.