Flood victims call lost household items ‘just stuff’

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Flood victims call lost household items ‘just stuff’

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Alicia Johnson, who lives on Taylor School Road in Seven Mile, calls the items lost in Wednesday’s flooding “just stuff” but it’s painful losing memories that can’t be replaced. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Days after the flooding, called “the worst” in Seven Mile history, residents along Taylor School Road are still cleaning up.

Several of the homeowners on the street had their driveways lined with ruined items Saturday morning following the violent storms that devastated the region Wednesday night. Firefighters from Seven Mile and St. Clair Twp. spent all day Thursday pumping thousands of gallons of water out of the flooded basements and front yards to a nearby creek.

Emergency personnel throughout the county were busy cleaning up the debris from the storm that dumped as much as 5 inches of rain in two hours, said Matt Haverkos, director of Butler County Emergency Management Agency.

Ben and Alicia Johnson, and their 6-year-old son, Wyatt, said they were thankful there were no serious injuries in the storms and while they lost all the items in their basement — several appliances — they called them “just stuff.”

There was a huge Dumpster sitting in the Johnson driveway and it was filled with discarded items. More items were sitting in the driveway and front yard and Wyatt was told by his mother to make sure he cleaned all his toys with bleach because of the fear of contamination. Dryers and dehumidifiers were drying out the basement and garage, they said.

The Johnsons said they always complained about having to visit all their relatives on Christmas, but after those relatives came to their rescue, Alicia Johnson said she appreciates her family members.

“We had an army here,” she said, adding the Dumpster was filled in about four hours. “We’re not going to complain anymore. We will make the rounds with a smile on our face.”

This has been trying week for the Johnsons. On May 21, their above-ground pool “exploded” when a side panel busted. They purchased a new pool Tuesday and it was scheduled to be delivered Thursday. The delivery was postponed because Ben Johnson told the company “we have an indoor pool right now.”

As his wife surveyed the damage, she called it “heart-wrenching to see all the memories” gone forever.

“I know it’s just stuff, but we can’t replace that stuff,” she said.

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