Little Falls residents return to flooded homes

March 15, 2011 8:25:41 PM PDT
For the first time in days, people who were forced out by the massive floods in New Jersey are going home.

Their houses were flooded out, but some residents were able to learn from the past to protect their before the flood.

The water may be receding in Little Falls, but the level of frustration is almost as high as the water used to be in Javier Ruiz's basement.

"The water obviously submerged my boiler and hot water heater," said Javier Ruiz, a Little Falls resident.

He returned home to find six feet of flood water to pump out, more motivation to plead with Little Falls' officials for help.

"I want them to do something, they've got all these great ideas but I haven't seen anything happen," Ruiz said.

What he is seeing is more cleanup after another few days of the river overflowing its banks.

Down the street on Zelif Avenue, Jim Clough has experienced that five times over the last 20 years.

And this time around, he didn't take any chances.

He dismantled and removed everything in his basement and put it one floor up in his living room, dining room, and kitchen.

"We're getting better at it. We're blessed it didn't come up higher," Clough said.

But the water rose high enough in many homes that it will take days for all of it to be pumped out and cleaned up.

The fire department is trying to help.

"A few of these houses down the street they've been up to the rafters, hasn't been as fast as we'd like," said Colin McNeill, of the Little Falls Fire Department.

It is a long process.

No one knows that better than the residents of this neighborhood.

"Now it's coming every year, somebody needs to do something," a resident said.

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