Many tenants of a Salem apartment complex evacuated their homes Thursday night. What they saw when they returned to the complex on Friday was a shock to many.
Gary Jefferson returned to his apartment to find it in ruins.
“The water had receded enough to where I could come to the apartment and do a walk-through and the water was close to my knees,” says Jefferson, a resident at The Riverwalk at Salem Apartments.
His first floor unit at the Riverwalk was in disarray. Nearly everything had been destroyed.
“Things you work so hard for are gone. Nothing you can do to replace them,” says Jefferson.
42 first-floor apartments at the complex had water damage.
‘It was pretty devastating when we first got back over,” says Charlitte Noel, who has lived at the complex for the past eight years.
“After pulling the water, within hours, it’s re-soaked again,” says Noel’s neighbor, Rolando Willis.
And many more apartments are without power.
“What’s upsetting me the most is not knowing anything, but having to come out here and communicate with neighbors and people who are working here. Have they heard anything?,” says Debbie Worrell, a second-floor resident at the complex.
Chris Morris and his family are now trying to save the few items they can.
‘We got about a fourth of a small U-haul trailer there that we’re able to salvage,” says Morris.
Everything else will be thrown in the trash, discarded in a dumpster that’s filled to the brim with damaged belongings.
After living at the complex for five years, Morris and his family have found a new place to live. But many others remain uncertain about what to do or where to go next.
“All you can do is hope that you can rebuild,” says Jefferson.
And they’re hoping to find the resources and help they need to take those next steps.
The Red Cross opened a shelter at the Salem Civic Center Friday night. The shelter closed Sunday evening, but a representative with the Red Cross says the organization will be at the apartment complex Monday to hand out supplies, such as food and water.