Red Cross opens shelter for flood victims

Posted at 12:16 AM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 00:16:35-04

CINCINNATI -- Some Cincinnati residents have had to radically change their definition of ‘home’ after Sunday night’s flash flooding -- from a house or an apartment to an American Red Cross shelter on Dana Avenue.

“When we saw the reports coming in, in Mount Lookout and the St. Bernard area, and they were talking about shoulder height water running through the streets, we knew at that point that we were going to get a call,” said Red Cross shelter manager Jerry Dickens.

Cincinnati resident Mark Shears said Monday night that the storm took away everything except his life.

He lived in a basement apartment on Tennessee Avenue before the flooding, and he had less time than most to find another, safer place when the water began to seep inside.

“It sounded like it was hailing, so I peeked out the door, and it looked like a river,” he said. “I go to open my front door … and there was about five feet of water.”

Going outside seemed impossible, so Shears turned around and fled into his bedroom, where he shut the door behind him. It was no use.

“The water busted a hole in the door,” he said. “And that’s when I jumped out the window.”

He wasn’t the only one taken aback by the strength of the storm.

“We have seen flooding before, but I think the speed that this came on in different parts of town was just a little different for us,” Dickens said.

Around 12 people were staying at the shelter Monday night while they waited to find out whether their homes, apartments and belongings were salvageable

Red Cross officials said they plan to do a daily assessment to determine whether the shelter is still needed as the week continues.