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Homeowners cleaning up from flash floods in Utah County

Posted at 10:16 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-10 00:16:38-04

LOAFER CANYON, Utah — Homeowners have a long road of cleanup ahead after flash floods destroyed yards and basements in Loafer Canyon, south of Salem in Utah County.

Now, some residents are wondering who is really to blame for the mess.

Canyon residents say a heavy rainstorm triggered flash floods, sending waves of mud and gunk in the direction of their homes.

Friday morning, families could see the full scope of the damage. They began to clean up.

It's not a sound you'd want to hear in your home — the noise of shovels pushing out waves of mud and water.

"It's pretty sad. There's a lot of memories in there," said Katelyn Gray, who was covered in mud from helping clear out her grandparents' basement. "We were digging out boxes of pictures and stuff this morning."

Much of what they dug out from grandpa and grandma's home is ruined.

Family pictures and old wedding photos are painted in mud.

They said the flooding lasted about 45 minutes Thursday evening. Now, there will be weeks of cleanup.

"It was unreal. I've never seen it running so hard," neighbor Jeneal Peterson said. "It was a nightmare."

The floods ran through Peterson's yard and shed.

"It came down through his yard, and it come in right here, and then it come in from the road," she said, pointing all around her. "And then it came in up this corner here, and then it came in, in two places at the back."

As nature ran its course, the mud surrounded her home. Somehow, it didn't touch the house.

Though if you ask Peterson, Mother Nature isn't really to blame.

The floods came down from a wildfire burn scar.

"I don't think we would have ever had a problem if it hadn't a been for that fire, that the Forest Service didn't feel the need to control," she said, talking about the 2018 Pole Creek and Bald Mountain Fires. "Let it burn, let it burn. And, I don't see any of them up here cleaning my yard up up."

Neighbors, friends and family are all helping however they can.

As Peterson stood in her driveway, a woman pulled up to ask if they needed any meals. Peterson said they were okay.

"The community pulls together when push comes to shove," she said.

If there's any sound you'd want to hear right now, it's the sound of coming together and persevering.

"That's okay," Katelyn said. "We're getting it fixed."

The community is organizing a cleanup on Saturday at 9 a.m. Volunteers have been asked to come to the bus turnaround at the mouth of Loafer Canyon.