The Great Chicago Flood

First, we got off LUCKY!

The only damage we, personally, sustained were boxes of photos and comic books, which luckily I woke up at 3am and we managed to clear out.  Of the comics, the first ‘loss’ was some old first print, in crap shape anyway, ElfQuests.  The second print copies are fine.  I’ll have to go through a box of some 1990s-2000s DC stuff that seems to be trashed.  None of it was priceless or will kill me to lose.  An old monitor we don’t use got wet and the sewing machine, but they should both be okay once they dry out.

The back room is flooded, though, don’t get me wrong.  There’s water and the carpet is going to need some serious care.  I feared it was lost and told the landlord would not object to tile downstairs, personally.  The unit one over has INCHES of water in the whole lower level (looked like 4).  We barely have an inch, and nothing more seems to be coming in, so that’s lucky.  The next ones down the line have more.

As for how bad was it?  Were it not Shabbat, I would have taken photos of the amazing depth.  The whole back area had about 6 inches of water.  The sump pump ran constantly, but it wasn’t going to help, since the water wasn’t draining into the sewer.  Thankfully our building contractor and a plumber showed up and was able to clear out the pipes so water drained out of the back patio.  All the storage rooms got about 2-3 inches.  Our drained first, nothing was damaged (I had it all up on shelving anyway except bicycles, which are fine anyway).  The main gas-rooms are a mess, though.  At 2pm, there was still some water there and that pump was underwater.

What happened was the city drainage was overwhelmed and backed up.  Something clogged the drain for our block and we all got flooded.  In a way, this isn’t surprising at all.  We got nearly 7 inches of rain overnight, in less than a 6 hour span.  The streets were flooded, the CTA couldn’t run because tracks were flooded. Apparently some truckers had to be rescued by boat.  Boat.  Truckers.  On.  A.  Boat.

Yeah, we were very lucky.

By Sunday morning, we’d cleared out the back room as best we could, and talked to our landlord.  He got not one but two wetvacs and came over (yes, himself) to get the place sorted out.  His two sons worked the WetVacs for a couple hours, sucking up water, until it was ‘dry enough.’  The blessings are that when he rehabbed the unit, he put down carpet and carpet pads that are intended to survive getting wet without making mold.  On top of that, his neighbor runs a cleaning business, and gave him some anti-fungal spray to lay down afterwards.  After his boys sucked up 30 gallons (yeah, I said it) he attempted to make a sandwich run (they were closed) but alas, no food, but he offered!

After my last landlord, I’m really happy. I mean, Kathy would have been three days to get an answer, and another two to get help, followed by a guy who spoke no English (nor any languages I knew) who didn’t actually know how to do anything.  Nathan’s a good guy.  He was in by noon, out by about three fifteen, and the place is now no more damp than after a carpet cleaning… Which is what it just had.  The place smells of cleaning solutions, which is much better than musty cardboard and mold!

My take-aways are pretty basic.  It’s going to flood in Chicago.  Have your stuff off the ground, in rubbermaids, and protected.  Comics are a problem, since the best I can find are water resistant like the ones from Bags Unlimited.  For most of our stuff, some rubbermaids will do the trick.  Waterproof, interlocking, and sturdy.

The photos below are all of the outside.  No lasting damage was done, so we are all incredibly lucky.