Flood Victims Getting Back to Their Homes in Ottawa

Neighborhoods are starting to dry out in Ottawa.
Neighborhoods are starting to dry out in Ottawa.

OTTAWA -- The city of Ottawa is finally drying out, giving some relief to families who have been dealing with days of severe flooding.  US 224 is passable through the city, and neighborhoods are drying out, allowing people to get a first look at what the flood did to them.

A slow-moving rainstorm a week ago dumped as much as 9 inches of rain on some areas.  Findlay was especially hard-hit, with several blocks of its downtown area under waist-deep water from the Blanchard River.  The Blanchard flows downstream into Ottawa, which was also seriously flooded.

"There's nothing left.  There's nothing left," said Hollis Schiedebusch.  "I mean, we're just taking [our flood-damaged belongings] to the street.  People come and hopefully get it here soon.   But there's just nothing left."

Schiedebusch was one of hundreds of people who finally got to go home on Saturday and clean up.  Less than a block away, the Red Cross still had a flood shelter set up, and the health department was giving tetanus shots.

Linda Closson still waits for the water to drop in her neighborhood.  "I'm just getting anxious to get down there and see what's happening," said Closson.  "How much stuff is gone."

The Coast Guard, the Putnam County Sheriff's Department and the health department are working together to get people the help they need.  The Temporary Joint Information Center says 975 homes and 35 businesses in Ottawa were damaged by the floods.  Authorities warn of the danger of going into areas that are still flooded, due to electricity, contamination, or possible open manholes.

For now, people are working together to help each other. "Our friends are here," said Schiedebusch.  "And there's a couple here, that I almost cried.  I haven't cried.  But they came from Wayne County to help people."

Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.

Posted by AEB