Web Extra!

The backyard of Willie Cranberry’s

Ohio Street
home looks like it’s ready for a garage sale.

Quilts and comforters hang on the clothesline. Boxes, vacuum cleaners, a computer and TV set are among the items sprawled over his backyard. But this isn’t the beginning of a rummage sale. Instead, it’s a salvage hunt for the retired state police officer. Cranberry, along with many of his neighbors, are picking up the pieces – literally – following the July 23 torrential rainstorm.

Home basements were flooded and household items stored there were all but destroyed.

“It was real bad,” said Cranberry, who’s lived at the home for more than 30 years with his wife. “I had water up past my knee. There was four feet of water in my basement, where I store my stuff in there. The dryer, washer, freezer and all the clothes I had stored down in the basement. And it was ruined. Everything was ruined.”

Very little is salvageable, and Cranberry was forced to throw out many items. Cranberry said that even his packed freezer was floating on water. The basement of his bungalow home is still filled with many items, including clothes hanging up, furniture and boxes. All of it, Cranberry said, has to be moved out.  

The city sent out dump trucks on Monday to pick up damaged and discarded items. While waiting for more help from the city and the federal government, the neighbors on
Ohio have been helping one another.

After the storm, Cranberry spent about two hours fixing Sadie Strong’s water heater. She’s lived on
Ohio for more than 20 years. Strong has been using her cell phone camera to snap photos of her property damage. Strong even lost recently-purchased items that were still in boxes.

“Everything that was salvageable had to be thrown out,” she said.

Flood victims are being encouraged to compile a detailed list with photos and/or video of damage they incurred. Flood assessment forms are available at the aldermen’s offices. The forms need to be turned in by Friday Aug. 6. The information will be used by the city to secure federal reimbursement money from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to aid victims.

The South Austin Coalition Community Council, 5660
W. Madison, will have flood damage forms for pick-up and drop-off.

Austin Weekly News will have additional coverage in Thursday’s paper.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com