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Tom Smart, Deseret News
Glenna Butler sorts through boxes that were floating in her basement as a result of flooding from heavy rains in Tooele Thursday.

TOOELE — The first sign of trouble from Glenna Butler came about 4 a.m. Thursday when she got a knock at her front door.

"They said the basements are flooding. The catch basin couldn't hold all the water running off," she said.

The basement of Butler's condo, along with seven others in the complex, flooded due to heavy rain.

"The (basement) window just blew out," said Jose Gonzalez, whose finished basement was also flooded. "I have four feet of water in my basement. I had expensive equipment, computers, flat screen TV, DVD's, the kid's stuff."

The condos were in the Maples area, near 200 West and 1100 North in Tooele. Between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., a heavy flow of water caused by heavy rains crashed through several basement windows, allowing water to flow into the structures.

"We've got two to three feet down there, 30 inches," Butler said.

Fire crews and other emergency personnel were called to help divert some of the water flow with their pumps.

Butler just recently moved into her condo and still had most of her possessions stored in cardboard boxes in the basement. Most of those boxes contained books, pictures, Christmas decorations, movies and power tools.

She is frustrated because she is a renter and doesn't have flood insurance. But Butler's biggest frustration is finding out that the same thing happened at the condo complex three years ago. She said that incident resulted in a lawsuit that still hadn't been resolved as of Thursday.

"Where it happened three years ago, I don't know why it hasn't been taken care of in the meantime. Everyone is fighting over who is responsible for it and no one is doing anything about it. I wouldn't have rented here if I were aware of the first flood," Butler said.

Tooele Mayor Patrick Dunlavy noted the flooding happened on private property, so the city isn't responsible for the damage. Nevertheless, he met with his department heads and emergency responders Thursday to, "go over what we could do to possibly help these property owners," he said.

As of Thursday, Dunlavy said the city's engineering department was still looking at how another flooding incident might be avoided in the future.

Dunlavy says the city's storm drains are "adequate under the standards required." The biggest problem, he said, was simply heavy rain.

"We just got a whole lot of water in a short period of time," he said.

Residents say the water came flowing from a field and nearby parking lot. Some said they were now talking to attorneys to determine what to do next.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com