Angry homeowners after Fairview Heights flash flooding

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. - Every time rain heads through the region, Antoinette Johnson holds her breath and says a prayer. She lives off Northwestern Avenue in Fairview Heights. It's a community of about 200 neatly manicured lawns, two story homes, and large backyards.

Johnson says she and her husband moved in 18 months ago.

"This is our dream home. This is our first house we purchased together. We were so excited," she said.

What the Johnsons didn't know was that the city may have big problems with its drainage system through the neighborhood. She showed us cell phone video from last Friday when the entire street was underwater and her mail box was almost covered.

"People have lost cars. People have gotten stranded and we are just wondering when the city is going to step in and fix this problem," Johnson explained.

The flash floods are so powerful, the water has broken slats on her wooden fence and created ditches in her yard two feet deep.

"If I would have known ahead of time this place flooded, I wouldn't have purchased the home," said Johnson.

City officials said the realtor and seller should have disclosed flooding issues. But neighbors point out city officials approved the development, public works is responsible for drainage, and minutes dating back to 2009 show officials knew about the problems.

"It's not normal to have three to four feet of water flowing through the backyard into the streets. My neighbors RV was actually floating down the street," said Johnson.

The head of Public Works for Fairview Heights said the city is working on a solution but engineers are first trying band aids before committing to what could be a million dollar solution.

Five on Your Side plans to continue following what happens in the Fairview Heights neighborhood and advocating on behalf of the Johnsons and their neighbors.


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