Flooding again at Dean Estates apartments … by Joanne Giannini
Again, we hear of more flooding at the Dean Estates apartments. In 2013, my sister lived there on the first floor and her daughter and baby grandson lived on the 2nd floor above them. It was a holiday and raining when a thrust of water blasted through their apartments causing them to flee with only the clothes on their backs. The water was fast and hard and filled the apartments quickly. They ran out to the parking lot only to find their cars submerged in water.
With that, they knew they had to run to higher ground. They lost everything. It was horrific to hear the stories everyone had about narrowly escaping the rapid waters.
Luckily, they made it out and called us family members who went to get them. No one showed up that day but police and fire. The apartments were condemned and everything was destroyed. The residents in two building were homeless and lost everything.
Being a former state representative, I called many agencies to see if these residents could be helped. No one showed up that day at the flooded apartments but the fire and police departments. I called several politicians in Cranston who told me that it was the owner of the apartments responsibility.
It was really up to management and management did nothing. My sister needed to get back in her apartment for medication and personal items, it took weeks.
When she finally was able to go back in, it was a disaster. It was dark, (no electricity) it stunk of sewage and it was moldy. The storm water was contaminated and everything was lost in both apartments. They were only allowed to go in certain times during day for a few hours due to it being dangerous. No one could last in their long , it smelt so bad. There was no offer of money and only the security deposit was refunded.
Who knew that these rapid flood waters could happen? The management and city knew. There was a history of this flooding over the years. The tenants didn’t know about it. So, when I hear people say, the tenants should have known, I ask how could they?
Dean estates is considered to be one of the nicest neighborhoods in Cranston, so who would have thought this would happen there? But it did and it had happened previously.
Tenants in both buildings were homeless and no agencies reached out. There was a meeting at the Cranston library and the Red Cross gave out blankets and water, but that was it. Management promised the apartments would be fixed and up and running. Months went by and we knew it was a total loss. Residents started to find other places to live realizing it was hopeless. Well, it took over a year but they were allowed to reopen. I couldn’t believe it.
A few weeks ago, the same horrific flooding occurs, the same displacement of people, the same situation, how awful!
Why did city allow Dean estates apartments to reopen again putting more people at risk? Is the state looking into solving this flooding problem which has happened over and over again?
Regardless of whose fault, these people need to be helped. They need to get representation; maybe some lawyers in this state can work pro bono to help. Call federal elected officials to contact FEMA for help. Call State Legislators and government agencies for state assistance.
My heart goes out to all of these residents who lost pets and belongings. Some things can be replaced ; some cannot. My sister is deceased now but I still think of that horrific day. For those who think it’s the tenants’ fault , remember it could be your family member!
Finally, thank you to Mayor Ken Hopkins. He has been there for the displaced residents and cares.I wish he had been there in 2013.
Those of us who lived through the experience with loved ones, remember it well. This should never be allowed to happen again!