Neighbors of Deadly Floodwater Incident in Erie, Say Flooding Concerns Were Not Addressed
Two people died Sunday night, when flood waters rushed into their home along East 30th street in Erie. Many neighbors in the area are not only devastated by their neighbors' deaths, but are going so far as to say it's a tragedy the city could have prevented.
Two people died Sunday night, when flood waters rushed into their home along East 30th street in Erie.
Many neighbors in the area are up in arms. They're not only devastated by their neighbors' deaths, but many are going so far as to say it's a tragedy the city could have prevented.
Several neighbors tell us while this storm and the rain that came with it was epic, flooding here has long been an issue, "There's been flooding, but it's never gotten this bad," said Jim Colburn who lives on east 29th street.
Colburn says neighbors have complained to the city, but the neighborhood, and particularly the home damaged Sunday night, continued to experience flooding issues, "They've been complaining for years, and its just doesn't seem to to make any difference," said Colburn. "Now we've had a couple of people die because of the flood and it's time something's done," Colburn continued.
So Erie News Now sat down with Dave Mulvihill, Director of the city of Erie's Public Works department.
He says, in the 1990's, the city partnered with Millcreek to install piping to address the issue.
That worked for a while, but when Mercyhurst University expanded in the 90's, it created more flooding issues for the neighborhood down the hill.
Mulvihill says Mercyhurst stepped up, and in 2003 they partnered to put in a half million dollar storm water detention system in the area. And until Sunday, Mulvihill says the city was unaware of any major flooding issues that remained, "We've we've had no issues, no calls in, no flooded basements, nothing. So in our mind that 2003 project combined with the 1990 project had addressed the issue adequately," said Mulvihill.
Mulvihill says the city will reevaluate this neighborhood, and all the neighborhoods that tend to see flooding issues during major rain events.
But he says unfortunately, the city could not have prevented this tragedy, "It was an extraordinary event, this wasn't a normal rain event and this isn't something you can plan, or design for, or build something to take all this water," said Mulvihill. "It's just an act of God... you can't handle this kind of storm," Mulvihill said.