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After flooding, neighbors clean up and hope for assistance

Barberton debris
Posted at 4:04 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 17:50:06-04

BARBERTON, Ohio — The high water covering parts of Summit and Stark Counties has finally receded, but there's still a lot of work to be done.

Mayors of several cities and towns, including Barberton, have signed a letter to Governor Mike DeWine, asking for help.

The streets of Barberton looked much different on Monday than they did approximately one week prior. While almost all the floodwaters had dried up, debris sat curbside outside many houses, evidence of the damage the high water wrought.

14th Street NW, Barberton
Floodwaters covered 14th Street Northwest last week. As of Monday, it was dry.

"I opened the door and I saw that and I just prayed and prayed," Kari Frantz, who lives on 14th Street Northwest, said, reliving the moment she saw high water in her basement. "I just said, 'Please don’t get to my first level.' And that’s as far as it went."

Frantz said she feels lucky.

"It could’ve been worse," Frantz said. "It could’ve got on my main level and destroyed a lot more."

While the water destroyed plenty in Frantz's basement, her next-door neighbor, Sheri Hartley, had even more damage.

Sheri Hartley flooding aftermath
Sheri Hartley stands in her basement, where floodwaters destroyed her furnace, hot water tank and other items.

"It’s been horrible," Hartley said. "I mean, not just for me, but for everybody here."

The high water claimed Hartley's furnace, hot water tank, washer and dryer from the basement, as well as her husband's motorcycle, tools and other items in their garage. She said they have FEMA flood insurance but that the deductible is $5,000.

"We have to finance that $5,000," Hartley said. "And we have all these other expenses."

In the week since the flooding happened, Hartley said she's begun to feel overwhelmed at times.

"At first, you know, you have the energy mentally and physically to work and work and work, and you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere," Hartley said. "We have so much to clean and do, but you get exhausted. And then when the financial part hits you, you start to feel hopeless. I mean, at one point we said we feel just like walking away from it and just leaving it, but we can’t."

Mayor William Judge said debris collection and street sweeping are ongoing, and that the city is having 11 dumpsters put in place to collect debris. One of those is at Stanley Avenue and Bell Street on Barberton's south side.

Judge also said the city was distributing forms to neighbors for them to fill out. The forms, which Frantz showed News 5, include space for neighbors to describe their property damage and also possibly get an adjustment on their property value.

Frantz, who said she doesn't have homeowner's insurance, planned to fill out the forms.

"It was pretty gutted when we bought it, so we just paid cash," Frantz said, noting the house cost $8,000 at the time. "And so we have no insurance or no nothing. The smart thing would be to get insurance, but my husband and I are both on disability."

Kari Frantz flooding debris
Kari Frantz said she feels lucky, despite losing so much.

Hartley said she, too, would fill out the forms but didn't know if anything would happen. She praised local businesses for their help in the aftermath of the flooding but said residents weren't getting help from the city.

Judge said the city would use the information on the forms to tailor programs to those in need.