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Ashley Lowery, Deseret News
Paula Aguilar surveys flood damage while she leans against the door of her Buena Vista apartment in Kearns on Wednesday.

Though the water has receded, people still can't get into their homes.

Tuesday's heavy rains in Salt Lake County clogged a storm drain on Bangerter Highway and 5400 South, eventually swamping a complex at the Mulberry Park Townhomes with 3 feet of water.

A hillside then sloughed off at the complex at 5287 S. 3675 West, sending debris into a building.

Residents Alex and Amanda Acosta were at the movies when it happened, returning home to find they could only get into their house to retrieve clothes for their daughters and nothing else.

"I'm wearing my dad's clothes," Alex Acosta said, while his wife was borrowing clothes from a friend.

The family is staying at his father's house until he can gain access, but is not sure when that will be. The uncertainty of it all has left his wife devastated.

"I've spent the majority of the day crying, " she said.

Alex Acosta said he feels powerless because he can do nothing.

Another resident couldn't work because his uniform was in his house. Danny Darrington said he is anxious and wonders when he and his family can return home.

"Not knowing is the worst part," Darrington said.

His family is staying with his sister until they can go home.

Other areas of the west side were also affected. John Butts lives in a downstairs apartment at Buena Vista Apartments at 4425 Christopherson Drive in Kearns. He said water had been leaking in his utility room since Tuesday night. Although nothing is damaged, the sheet rock on the ceiling is bulging with moisture.

Pale Collins said her apartment was not affected so she sent her children to neighbor Jean Meiners, who lives in a downstairs apartment, to help her remove water with buckets, mops and brooms. Meiners said when the water hit it resembled a "small sized tsunami." She organized a bucket brigade made up of her grandchildren to bail water. One child would fill a bucket with water and hand it to the next until it reached the end of the line.

"I was taking buckets of water and throwing it in the mud," said her granddaughter Felisha Wendt.

Another storm hit later, but by then Meiners had makeshift sand bags to divert the water.

Meiners said none of her belongings were ruined, and she was able to stay the night at her apartment. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday her carpet was still wet.

Some residents were not so lucky. Across the complex, maintenance worker Johnny Compos was removing drenched carpet and pads from the apartment of Julio and Paula Aguilar. Water cascaded down his body as he moved the carpet on his head and threw it in a pile outside. Julio said the water came in through air vents on the floor. Paula said they couldn't stay Tuesday night, couldn't stay Wednesday and consequently, her family is staying at a church. She said she is not sure when her apartment will be livable.

The Red Cross responded to those displaced by the flooding by setting up a shelter at Kearns High School, where 10 residents opted to stay overnight Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Susan Thomas.

"We had cots and necessities for anyone who needed it," Thomas said.

The organization will continue to help residents over the next several days.


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