Local News

Dozens of Chapel Hill residences condemned after flooding

Posted July 2, 2013 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2013 7:08 a.m. EDT

— Orange County officials declared a state of emergency Tuesday as the Chapel Hill area copes with the aftermath of flash flooding late Sunday.

Local damage assessment teams continued to make the rounds of neighborhoods inundated by an estimated 4.66 inches of rain Sunday, which sent area creeks out of their banks. State officials planned to visit Chapel Hill Wednesday to determine whether any locations qualify for disaster recovery assistance.

Already, 68 units in the Camelot Village Condominiums complex, on South Estes Drive, and another 22 units in the Booker Creek Townhome Apartments complex, on Booker Creek Drive, have been condemned. Officials found another 51 units in the Brookwood Condominiums complex, also on Estes Drive, that were damaged by water.

The emergency declaration coordinates local efforts to respond to the flooding, from providing public health nurses and social workers to assist at a local Red Cross shelter to taking in the pets of displaced residents.

Homeowners battled against continued rain Tuesday as they tried to clean up and dry out from the flood waters.

"My God, I couldn't believe the damage was that extensive," Helen Rubinstein said about the 8 inches of water that rushed into the first floor of her unit at the Village Green Condominiums, on Elizabeth Street.

Officials found that about 40 units in the complex sustained water damage.

Although crews had ripped up Rubinstein's carpet and linoleum, cut out large sections of damaged drywall and installed dehumidifiers and fans, she said she planned to stay on the second floor of her condo.

Other residents in the complex said they were going to stay at hotels until repairs were done.

"Most of our furniture is probably lost," resident Caroline McCarty said, noting that her renter's insurance doesn't cover flood damage.

"Our neighbors have been wonderful, feeding us and sheltering us," she said.

Elkin Salinas, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said he's used to living in a sparsely furnished apartment. But like McCarty, he had to pitch much of his furniture outside because of water damage.

"I should be in class, (but) this is priority," Salinas said as he cleaned up flood damage.

In addition to Village Green, local officials examined damage Tuesday around University Mall, the Stratford Hills Apartments complex, on Bolinwood Drive, and the Brookside Apartments complex, on Brookside Drive.