Within minutes, a Center Grove area couple went from watching a downpour of rain to carrying buckets of water out of their basement.
On July 11, when dozens of homes across the county flooded, Jeff and Connie Fenimore’s house was dry until the power went out, causing water to back into their home.
“All was fine, our sump pump was running well, but then the power went out,” Jeff Fenimore said. “Water started to go in our basement and we bailed it out by hand for a few hours.”
In the midst of the storm, a tree near the front of Brentridge Estates, located off Morgantown and Stones Crossing roads, fell on a power line, causing an outage for more than six hours. About 50 homes were affected, which caused flooding in homes that wouldn’t typically be hit.
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“It was the perfect storm,” said Roberta Smithey, president of the homeowners association. “It was raining so hard and the power went out — that combination is what caused the flood.”
The Fenimores have lived in Brentridge Estates for 21 years, yet the flood in 2008 didn’t affect them.
Following the flooding in July, the couple purchased a battery back-up sump pump and a portable generator, just in case something similar were to happen in the future. But they didn’t know just how soon they would need it until heavy rain hit their home again three days later, and the power went out again.
“The power went out that Friday, for an unknown reason, and had I not put in the battery powered back-up, I believe we would have flooded again,” Jeff Fenimore said.
In total, the couple has about $8,000 in damages. The carpet in the basement had to be ripped up and the trim had to be removed and repaired. During the rainfall, file cabinets had to be lifted up to ensure nothing inside was damaged, which saved them from additional damages.
In parts of the neighborhood, the water was nearly over the mailboxes, which Smithey estimates is about five feet high. While some houses in the neighborhood have flooded before, it was the first time for many of the 50 houses that were affected this time, Smithey said.
Parts of the neighborhood sit on Honey Creek, which floods during heavy downpours and overflows into the neighborhood. In the past, a nearby lift station flooded, causing sewage to back up in some homes. However, as far as Smithey knows, no homes were affected by the sewage during July’s flood.
When Suzette Davis came home from work that Tuesday and opened the door to her home, she knew there was water standing somewhere because of the scent.
“It smelled horrible,” she said. “I knew it had rained and there was flooding throughout the county, but I kind of thought that it was a leak in my roof.”
After trekking down to the basement, she saw the problem.
“I came down here and I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Other people in our neighborhood have flooded before, but my home never does.”
That’s when she contacted neighbors, learned of the power outage and realized the flood was caused by her sump pump not working.
“I’m glad the damage wasn’t worse,” Davis said. “But it was really frustrating to have to deal with because I thought my house was safe.”
The carpet and baseboards in her house had to be removed due to water damage, holes had to be put in her drywall to let it dry out and some of the wood on the bottom of her furniture was damaged. She was worried about her television and other electronics, but said somehow they weren’t affected.
“I had a painting I was recently given that was leaning up against the wall because I planned to hang it that weekend,” she said. “The frame of it was damaged, and it was pricey.”
In total, Davis expects she has more than $12,000 worth of damage.
“If it weren’t for the power outage, a lot of these homes would not have flooded,” Smithey said. “This isn’t the first time the neighborhood has been hit, and I hope it doesn’t happen again.”