NewsLocal NewsHamilton CountyCincinnati


Cincinnati first responders offer help in flood-ravaged neighborhoods

Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-02 19:15:03-05

CINCINNATI -- The Ohio River dropped below the flood stage Friday for the first time in a week. 

From Sayler Park to Coney Island, people were cleaning flood-ravaged areas Friday. In the California neighborhood, police officers and firefighters were checking on residents' welfare. 

Cincinnati Fire Lt. Steve Dunham was one of those on the mission to help flood victims. He stopped to chat with Tara Batchler and her daughter to see if they needed any cleanup assistance.

"We were coming to this area while the flood water was high, and now that the flood waters have receded, we're going door-to-door to pass out fliers to offer assistance, whether it's Red Cross, Water Works, losing electricity," he said. 

The visit surprised Batchler because her Waits Street home had three-and-a-half feet of water in it. 

"Up until this point, we really haven't seen anyone," she said. "We thought we fell of the radar."

Batchler said she does need help. There's muck everywhere. The washer and dryer are ruined. The water was strong enough to push the refrigerator across the room. Plus, a lot of personal items were destroyed - things that can't be replaced. 

"We lost a lot of family photos and can't live here for three-and-a-half or four months because of rehab," Batchler said. 

That sort of visit was going on across the neighborhood. Fire Capt. Rick Clements said they wanted to let people know "that we can try to make this easier for them, plan for them, so they can try to get through this situation."

Capt. Aaron Jones, the Police District 2 commander, said officers found residents eager for information and thankful it was available.

"They've been very appreciative of the police department, fire department and everyone that's come down and tried to help them through this process," Jones said. 

It only took about an hour, but first responders like Fire Lt. Steve Dunham said they know the personal contact is part of their mission.

"We provide emergency service like fire and EMS, but there are also catastrophic events like storms and floods," Dunham said. "What we want to do at the fire department is provide the taxpayers and citizens with any assistance we can."

They've been giving residents a hotline for public services: 513-591-6000.

The Red Cross was also out in California Friday. They delivered buckets of cleaning supplies to residents. 

"It's hard. It's overwhelming," Susan Routh with the Cincinnati/Dayton chapter of the American Red Cross said. "Many people have lost their possessions. They don't what what do do, don't know where to go."