Frustration grows as Granite City residents grapple with cleanup from flash flooding

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GRANITE CITY, IL – More than 800 families received assistance during an outreach event in Granite City over the weekend, but some residents said they need more than disinfectant and new drywall.

After heavy rains fell near Granite City last week, the ground around Teresa Kohenskey’s home was so saturated, the basement wall caved in making it unlivable. The Kohenskeys had to move in with relatives because there is a gaping hole in the side of their home.

The house, just outside the Granite City limits, is special to Kohenskey because her grandfather and father built it, and she raised her own family there.

After the wall caved in, Kohenskey said it took five days for the insurance company to come by to assess the damage. That is when she got the devastating news: the insurance agent told her there was a clause in the agreement, and she would not be covered for damage caused by “rainwater or water hitting the ground causing movement.”

Kohenskey said the Red Cross was not able to help them because she and her husband do not actually live or sleep in the basement.

The Kohenskeys got $75 in disaster relief at the outreach event over the weekend. However, the insurance company estimates it will cost up to $40,000 to get the house up to code.

“We’re senior citizens,” said Kohenskey. “We can’t start over.”

Just around the corner, flooding also forced Sarah Kyle from her home. She said there was five feet of filthy water in her basement after last week’s storm.

“There was actually feces floating around in the water,” said Kyle.

Kyle lived in the home with her son and aunt who depends on oxygen. She said everything they had stored in the basement is ruined.

Kyle said flooding is a problem in the neighborhood, and they were still dealing with the damage after their home flooded in May.

Granite City Mayor Ed Hagnauer tells Fox 2 the city has paid for 25 homes in Granite City to be cleaned after the flooding. The city will foot the bill for another 35 to be cleaned. The homes were selected based on need with seniors, children, and residents with special needs.

Volunteers from across the country are on their way to help. The Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief will set up a command center at the Second Baptist Church (2100 Illinois Avenue) on Wednesday (Aug. 21).

Volunteers will help people get signed up. Chaplain Dennis Felix asks for residents to be patient – it may take some time, but Felix said they will get to every home.

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