Flooding ‘the worst’ in Seven Mile history


Flooding ‘the worst’ in Seven Mile history

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Ron Crysel tries to sweep water down a drain after flood waters May 25 destroyed his home on East Ritter Street in Seven Mile. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Seven Mile’s mayor said the village was hit from all angles by the violent storms that devastated the region Wednesday night, flooding basements, streets and yards throughout Butler County.

Vivian Gorsuch, mayor since 2004, said the three ditch lines in the area that typically control flooding were overwhelmed by the rainfall and soon the water saturated the village, its residences, streets and farm fields.

“We got all situations at once,” Gorsuch said Thursday morning while accessing the damage on Taylor School Road, probably the hardest hit in the county. “It was all running from the same hill. So much sadness. This is not the first time they have lost everything.”

The village has experienced similar flooding three times over the past 35 years, the mayor said, adding flooding has been “an ongoing issue” there since the 1800s.

But she added: “This was the worst.”

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

That much rain in such a short time was “very extensive,” he said.

Haverkos said after assessing the damage, he and other county EMA directors will report to the state to determine if residents are eligible for financial or resource assistance.

The American Red Cross Cincinnati Region also provided emergency personnel and residents food and water Thursday morning on Taylor School Road.

Residents there either were cleaning up the debris left behind from the storm or waiting for firefighters from Seven Mile and St. Clair Twp. to pump water from their flooded basements to a nearby creek.

Ben Johnson, who lives on Taylor School Road, said he felt “shear panic” as the storms blew through, flooding his basement, destroying appliances and knocking out a door in the basement.

“Everything in the basement is gone,” he said after putting on waders.

He said watching some of his boys’ toys float out of the basement garage was the most difficult.

“That made it hit pretty hard,” he said.

Johnson tried to get his garage door down to stop the water from entering his garage. But the rushing water blew the garage door in and collapsed an interior wall, he said.

“We got out and watched it come in,” said Johnson, whose family spent Wednesday night with relatives.

He has lived on the street for eight years and said the storm and flood damage were the worst he has seen.

“It’s a mess,” he said of the inside of his home. “An in-ground swimming pool.”

He’s thankful his wife and two sons, Wyatt, 6, and Hank, 2, were not injured.

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