New River residents, volunteers brace for another storm

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

NEW RIVER, Ariz. -- While the folks living near the base of South Mountain have had a temporary flood recovery information center at a Phoenix fire station, residents of New River said they've been almost entirely ignored as they try to pick up the pieces after major flooding.

People are frustrated in New River especially with the thought that with the next storm, the river could overflow again. And although they said they've been ignored, the county and Daisy Mountain Fire said help is here, as the area prepares for more rain to hit this area Tuesday.

Many New River residents have banded together, starting the volunteer group New River Flood Help. They collect money and stock a room in Roadrunner Restaurant and Saloon with donated items for flood victims.

Volunteer Kaeti Kincaid said people have been dropping by to donate everything from dog food to cleaning supplies."Take as much as you need because that's what it's here for," said Kincaid.

Just down the street at Daisy Mountain Fire's station 146 at 3116 W. New River, there are more supplies. The fire station is gearing up to give more help through the Community Emergency Response Team.

"If there's some immediate need, somebody just needs something to drink, we can get them through. If they get stranded and can’t get to or from where they're going, we are happy to house them here for that short term,” said Daisy Mountain firefighter Paul Shickel, who also manages the Community Emergency Response Team.

Both volunteers and residents are getting ready for Tuesday's storm. "It's all that's running through their mind right now," said Kincaid.

Daisy Mountain Fire said residents concerned with flooding can go to station 146 at any time for sandbags for their home. They just need to call ahead after hours: 623-465-7400.

The National Weather Service calls for a flash flood watch Tuesday. "I don't even know how bad it's supposed to be tomorrow," said Kincaid.

For those who need help, both the center at fire station 146 and the donation center at 47801 N Black Canyon Hwy are open.

The county said a help center in New River is not out of the question. The emergency management crews said they are working to determine what is needed in New River first.

Jason Perkins was stuck in the New River flood last Tuesday. He had to hold onto a fence until the water receded. "We were pretty much there for an hour and a half or so," said Perkins.

All week, he said he’s been cleaning his parents' property with his brother, Nathan. "Just disgusted, really,” he said. “The mud just took everything.”

"There was a foot of mud in here deposited in here,” said Nathan. “The water flowed about three to four feet high for about an hour and a half. After that, it receded to the water line for about half an hour, and then after that it receded out."

Nathan said he can't help but think: "We could be working for nothing because the county needs to assess if this place will even be here in the future."

Nathan said the flood shifted the banks of the wash. "Is it even safe to be here?" he asked.

The Perkins family wants to know whether they should stick out the next storm or leave for good.

"Where do we go next with this?” he asked.

Perkins said he doesn't have the heart to leave his home. "I’ve been staying here," he said. But he might not have a choice.

The county said they understand residents' frustrations. They had a meeting today with several agencies to discuss the next steps, but the county wants to determine what can be delivered before anyone comments on what was discussed.

The Perkins family just hopes the next storm doesn't bring the same type of flooding as last week.

Click here for information on the volunteer group New River Flood Help:

Click here if you want to volunteer with the Community Emergency Response Team:

For help:

American Red Cross: 1-800-842-7349
Salvation Army: (602) 267-4100
Maricopa County Emergency Management can be reached between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 602-273-1411.