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Elkhart neighborhood still pumping out floodwater two weeks later

ELKHART, Ind. -- Two weeks after historic flooding hit Michiana, one Elkhart neighborhood is still dealing with standing water while residents wait for gas and electric to be restored.

“The biggest challenge is the furnaces were inundated by water and the water heaters, they were completely covered in the basements,” said Chris Houghton. “My basement had five feet of water in it.”

Houghton is a flood victim who has been on flood patrol ever since the water started rising.

His historic Elkhart home on 6th Street is one of many in his neighborhood that saw its basement fill to the brim.

Piles of ruined belongings now line the streets after being washed out.

Houghton, who works as a contractor on over a dozen homes in the community, said even though the high water didn’t flood into many homes’ main floors, there’s still damage.

“These were not paneled floors,” he said. “These were not plywood floors like in new homes where they glue them, sub-glue them, and then put them down with just the seam. These are tongue and groove floors, so there are slats about every three inches. And what’s happening is the water is seeping through the moisture – cause the water’s been here awhile – and it’s just buckling the floors.

Houghton added: “If they’re carpeted over – my carpet’s soaked. If you took your shoes off right now, your socks would be soaked walking in my upstairs carpet.”

Pumps are running everywhere you look throughout the neighborhood that’s known as ‘the hole.’

On Thursday, crews were continuing to assess the damage.

“I would say, overall, the city of Elkhart’s done great,” Houghton said. “They’ve done very great in responding to doing what they can do.”

The power was restored in Houghton’s home on Saturday – 10 days after it went out.

As of Thursday, he still had no heat and he said anyone currently staying in their homes in the neighborhood was using propane to keep warm because the gas had not been restored.

Indiana Michigan Power said Thursday that around 90 customers in Elkhart still do not have power because of the flooding.

The city still has a one-stop-shop disaster assistance center open for flood victims to utilize. Located at 608 Oakland Drive in Elkhart, the assistance center will be open on Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The following agencies are represented at the center: Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Family and Social Services Administration, Department of Workforce Development, Indiana State Department of Health, Department of Insurance, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Indiana State Board of Animal Health, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, The Indiana Office of Technology, the Indiana State Police, Red Cross, and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

State services for housing support, social services, unemployment insurance, insurance information, public health information, transportation assistance and agriculture are also available at the center.

The assistance center will close after Saturday, March 10, but flood victims can still visit individual agencies at their regular offices.

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