CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WPRI) — Water is being pumped from people’s basements as a Cumberland neighborhood deals with significant flooding from Monday’s heavy rainfall.
Residents told 12 News a few inches of rain led to feet of flooding in their backyards, and now they’re waiting for the town and the state to sort out whose problem it is.
Public works, fire and transportation officials were on site Tuesday trying to figure out what caused the floodwaters to flow into backyards in the area of Linwood Avenue.
According to lifelong resident Harold Storey, the response is too late.
“We’ve has this on and off for years,” he said.
A nearby drainage pipe belonging to the town connects to state drainage, and Cumberland Department of Public Works Director Robert Anderson said it’s too early to tell whether it’s a town or state issue.
“We pay taxes to both of them,” Storey added. “Get the job done and then go sit in the back room and figure this out.”
Storey and his neighbor Kat Jones said someone was inspecting the drainage areas just one day earlier. As the water in Jones’ yard slowly recedes, the town said it plans to replace the drainage pipe on Wednesday.
“Within a matter of minutes, there was tons of gallons just flowing of water going into our house,” she recalled.
As for her belongings, Jones said it’s not as simple as replacing them.
“There were family heirlooms, paintings from my great grandparents that have since left us and I can’t get back,” she said. “It’s just disheartening to know there is nothing I can do to get back those precious items that have no denominational value.”
Jones also said she has no heat since her furnace in the basement has stopped working.
The Cumberland Fire Department has contacted the Red Cross to help get a hotel room where she can stay with her dog and cats for the time being.
Both Storey and Jones said they hope Monday’s flooding will force someone to pay attention to the longstanding problem.
“With all the storms and the leaves and debris that’s around, that’s what really made this a mess,” Storey said.
The town is now investigating what exactly led to all of the flooding, according to Anderson, and he said they’re working with the state to prevent and future flooding.
Jones said Cumberland Mayor Jeffrey Mutter was in the neighborhood Tuesday morning talking to residents and asking how he could help.