The rising waters of Gravois Creek and clogged drains combined to result in an apartment complex flooding Sunday evening.
Three apartment buildings in the Cedar Creek Lodge Apartment Complex had water in the ground floor Sunday evening, flooding about 24 apartments. The Affton Fire Protection District used two boats from the Mehlville Fire Department to help the stranded residents. No serious injuries were reported.
Chief Nick Fahs of the Affton Fire Protection District said a heavy rain flooded Gravois Creek behind the apartment complex. Drains inside the complex became blocked, and water began rising in the parking lot.
"When the first company arrived they said it was raining so hard they couldn't see their hand in front of their face,” Fahs said. "It appears it hit the drains over here and clogged the drains. And within a matter of minutes, these people in the lower units were running for the upper levels and the cars were submerged within just a few seconds."
Fahs said the apartment management staff was working to relocate the impacted residents. The residents that could not be relocated would be helped by the Red Cross.
Donnielle Savage lives in a first flood apartment.
“It's a mess. It's a wet, wet mess,” she said.
After she got her toddler to safety with a grandparent, she and the firefighters went back inside the unit to rescue her pets. She has two, five-month old puppies and two cats. All of them were ok.
“All babies are ok, all humans are wet,” she said with a laugh. “Everybody's wet except for the cats.”
Tony Sartorelli was outside surveying the damage to his car Sunday evening.
“It’s all mud inside. Leather seats – those are probably not going to be so good,” he said. Sartorelli said he has lived in the same complex for several years, and it has flooded before, but never so significantly.
Once the drains were clear, the water receded quickly. It left behind a mud-caked parking lot, and lots of uncertainly with residents.
“This is very contaminated water, and that water is on the bottom floor of these units and so this complex is going to have quite the clean-up effort,” Chief Fahs said.