Somerville City Leaders Assess Flood Damage - NECN

Somerville City Leaders Assess Flood Damage



    (NECN: Josh Brogadir) - Hard hit by last weekend's rains, Somerville, Massachusetts was largely spared from the deluge Wednesday. Still, city leaders weren't taking any chances.

    Somerville residents were bracing themselves for severe weather again that did not materialize.

    Mayor Joseph Curtatone said the public safety building is "on life support."

    And 3000 properties have been affected around the city.

    Yellow tape blocks the way, desks and chairs piled high behind Somerville police headquarters - a reminder that just five days ago, flash floods descended quickly and powerfully on this Massachusetts city, causing an estimated $10 million in damage.

    "Once every 25 years this storm would happen in a 10 hour period. Here we are dealing with a 25 year storm in one hour," said Department of Public Works Commissioner Stan Koty.
    Saturday afternoon flood waters surged and drivers had to be rescued from the water after nearly four inches of rain fell in an hour.

    Four feet of water flowed into the public safety building basement, totaling at least 16 police vehicles.

    A temporary 911 center has been set up outside.

    "I appreciate the opportunity to address you in the public this evening," Mayor Curtatone said.

    Wednesday night at Somerville City Hall, he showed the board of aldermen and the public video, pictures, and a map of the damage - all the red streets on the map were affected by the storms.

    An estimated 3000 properties were impacted, some homeowners who have started paying to fix the damage, came to hear the update.

    "I would love to get reimbursed for (the broken hot water heaters), I've got the bills to prove what I spent, and that's all I'm asking for," said homeowner Peg Slote.

    The Mayor said the investigation continues to try to find out how this happened.

    "We've had many comments or allegations alluded that someone along the system didn't activate the pumps or the pumps failed or gates weren't opened in a particular area. We don't know that. And our goal as an administration is not to point blame but to figure it out and learn from it and make sure we don't have this problem in the future," he added.
    Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Rick Sullivan will be bringing together a few state agencies as they look into answering that question tomorrow morning.

    There will be a press briefing at City Hall after that.

    FEMA will be in the city tomorrow at Home Depot from 9am to 7pm, not to take claims yet, but to help residents with mold removal information.

    The city has a $10 million insurance policy.

    It is trying to figure what is covered and what is not.