Owners of luxury homes spent Tuesday sorting through their waterlogged and muddy belongings, trying to salvage whatever they could.
Scrapers and other heavy equipment rumbled along muddy streets, attempting toclear deep goo from the roadways. Belongings were scattered over lawns, andone attractive iron fence was topped with a long line of shoes, backpacks and sleeping bags. Neighbors were pitching in to help less fortunate friends clean up the mess.Watermarks on brick walls, mailbox posts and even pickup trucks revealed thatfloodwaters were about 4 feet high. Some furnished basements were filled when the wall of water swept out of the Virgin River's channel.
Sherri and Wes Fergusson live on the severely damaged Swaps Drive. They said they're grateful for the neighbors who have helped. They said water was 3 feet deep inside their home.
Fergusson showed where a structural expert had examined part of the wall in the living room and where a long strip of soaked sheetrock came off. He said the expert told him sheetrock will have to be replaced to at least a height of 4 feet from the floor and that flood-warped wood paneling also will have to go. Fergusson estimates his damage at about $74,000.
At the Scott and Sherrie Hansen residence, the furnished basement has been destroyed. Water and mud filled the basement and stairwell to within an inch of the main floor. The home had been tentatively sold, with the closing scheduled for Friday. The potential new owners will still arrive Friday to assess the situation and decide if they want to go through with the sale.
"We lost everything that was downstairs. This included three bedrooms for the children and a family room including at least $30,000 of personal property," Sherrie Hansen said.
A piano, television, Nintendo video-game set, stereo equipment, beds, chests of drawers, dressers and new clothing received at Christmas all were destroyed, she said.
"But, you can't believe the people who have come with their big equipment," she said as neighbor Paul Wilson washed off part of the Hansens' patio, working beside a back yard that remains a sea of mud.
"These volunteers just showed up and began helping."
Dr. R.H. Griffin, a St. George dentist, was busy in his yard, cluttered with damaged belongings. He said he wanted to look through the dozens of record albums piled on a table to see if any could be salvaged.
The basement had been finished, Griffin said. Walls, carpeting and all the contents of the basement had to be cleared out.
Griffin joked that he ought to be retired but now doesn't think he will be able to until he is "100 years old" because of the damage.
Marvin Davis, Denver, one of six assessment officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was going from house to house in the hardest hit area of Bloomington to try to total the damage.
He said damage varied from "just seepage through the doors" to filled basements.> He said a number of assistance programs will be available to private propertyowners, providing President Reagan declares it a disaster area.