By ZEINAB NAJM
Dearborn and Dearborn Heights residents woke up May 1 to flooded houses, neighborhoods and roads following a heavy rain of almost four inches April 30.
Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko said he asked the governor’s office declare a state of emergency so residents could get Federal Emergency Management Agency relief and that a financial assessment of damage would be done before submitting an official request to the state.
Late on May 2, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Wayne County making state resources in cooperation with local response and recover efforts in the designated area available, the Associated Press reported.
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans declared a state of emergency in Wayne County earlier the same day, saying that approximately 3,000 homes in the county were damaged, according to a news release.
The Salvation Army operated a shelter at the Dearborn Heights Justice Center, 25637 Michigan Ave. for residents. According to the city’s website, the Red Cross was at the Richard A Young Center May 3 to distribute cleanup kits for residents affected by the flood.
The flood update on the city’s website advised residents in need of emergency assistance or evacuation to call 911 so emergency personnel can assist, and to call the mayor’s office at 313-791-3490 for assistance so staff can assess needs.
“Dearborn Heights and many other Downriver communities experienced heavy rainfall of over 3 inches early yesterday morning,” the update read. “This resulted in massive flooding. If you are a resident experiencing flooding in the Ecorse Creek Watershed area, then we are asking that you contact the Mayor’s Office or the DPW to make sure that there is documentation that your home has been affected by the flood.”
On May 2, The Disaster Relief at Work volunteers arrived on Hanover Street — a neighborhood known for flooding — in Dearborn Heights to provide residents with buckets filled with cleaning supplies to aid them in cleaning up following the flooding.
Dearborn Heights firefighters worked to rescue residents from their houses and neighborhoods, including those who had three feet of water in their basements.
“We experienced 3 inches of rain last night,” Dearborn Heights Fire Chief Dave Brogan told WDIV Channel 4. “We’ve had several calls of people trapped in their homes who have medical problems or physical limitations that we’re helping — and we’ve had a lot of homes filling up with smoke from water flooding up to their electrical outlets.”
Flooding in Dearborn Heights caused school closures May 1 and 2 for students and staff in District No. 7. Parr Park at Hines Drive and Telegraph Road was also flooded with water levels reaching halfway to the sign posts on May 1.
In Dearborn, no school closures were reported but some bus routes were delayed on May 1 and Dearborn High School’s track was flooded, canceling practice, according to a DHS Facebook post.
Approximately 14 feet of water accumulated on Southfield Road under Outer Drive, closing the freeway in both directions May 1 and 2. The road in both directions reopened about 11 p.m. May 2. Southfield also was closed under Michigan Avenue and Ford Road May 1. Flooding also closed Greenfield Road south of Michigan Avenue May 1.
Ford Field Park in Dearborn also was flooded May 1 and 2 as a result of the heavy rainfall.
On a May 2 Facebook post, Dearborn Heights Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton said residents have contacted her regarding vehicles on the flooded street, towing and tickets.
“The Mayor’s Office, local elected officials, as well as our state and federal elected are working to address the concerns,” she wrote. “There are set fee schedules for towing services. We appreciate our residents calls and will work with local authorities. Today and Friday, we will be visiting local emergency shelters, offering assistance. An assessment of needed items will be evaluated and items will be available for our residents shortly.”
In her message she also thanked U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), state Rep. Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), state Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Dearborn Heights) and state Sen. Jean Alexander (D-Dearborn Heights) for their support.
On May 1, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) posted on her Facebook addressing the flooding issues in the area.
“Deeply concerned about flooding in parts of the district,” she wrote. “Dearborn Heights has been particularly hard hit. Working with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, state and local officials to ensure all that needs to be done is.”
Art Van Furniture extended its employee pricing to metropolitan Detroit residents impacted by the flooding through the Art Van Furniture and Mattress Emergency Flood Relief Program
A news release said that beginning May 2, flood victims could provide photos of their damaged furniture and mattresses or an insurance claim into all Art Van Furniture and Art Van PureSleep mattress stores in the area to receive the special discount on new furniture and mattresses.
The one-time purchase offer requires store or sales manager approval and expires in six months, according to the release.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])