Dove Springs residents begin flood clean-up



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Posted on November 1, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 9:28 PM

AUSTIN -- The Dove Springs neighborhood was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods during Thursday morning's storms, with water pushing cars and trucks all across the neighborhood and muddy water invading homes.

"Every time i think about it, see you're going to make me cry," said homeowner Diana Rivera, holding back tears.

But there's no time for tears. With each passing minute, mildew spreads and food spoils.

"As soon as we walked into the house, immediately the smell of mildew was pretty overwhelming," flood victim Chris Thornton said.

Furniture was tossed around in homes and priceless belongings were destroyed.

"They're my wedding pictures and i'm trying to salvage them," Sonia Perez said. "At least I can take pictures of them."

Most people are returning to clean and save what they can, but some never left.

"They were afraid they weren't going to be let back in, not just with their vehicles, but on foot," said Edward Reyes, president of the Dove Springs Neighborhood Association. "They didn't want their stuff to be stolen, and then they were afraid because some of this people are not as documented as others."

Many residents have been carrying their belongings on foot since cars and trucks have not yet been allowed into the area.

"You know, we can't haul it out," said Rivera, "I don't know when it's going to happen and how long it's going to be for us to take everything out."

Police will begin letting vehicles with proper identification into the area at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The review and inspection stage has started. Under the direction of the police, tow trucks are removing hazardous vehicles and code compliance officers are inspecting each home to see which ones are safe to enter. If there is a red note on the door, homeowners are not allowed to enter.

"We want to remind folks that the structures, 17 have been deemed unsafe," Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said. "They have been fenced up by the efforts of the code and if you see those fences are up with a red tag, you cannot trespass."

Capitol Metro and Austin Police officers provided shuttle service to help people take their things out.

Teachers and staff from nearby Perez Elementary went door to door, passing out information and checking on students.

The Dove Springs Neighborhood Association and the Red Cross supplied food and water.

The city is setting up a flood assistance center at the Dove Springs Recreation Center at 5801 Ainez Drive.

"Whether you're a victim in the county or the city, you are all welcome to come to the flood assistance center," Acevedo said.

It will be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. County and city flood victims are encouraged to go to the shelter, where they can get help, information and permits to rebuild their homes. 

The city also has plans to bring dumpsters and crews to the neighborhood to clean up debris.