Mayor Buttigieg discusses flood cleanup and recovery

NOW: Mayor Buttigieg discusses flood cleanup and recovery


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- ABC57's Tom Coomes sat down with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to talk about the August 15 flood and how it affected South Bend's residents.

"You know I remember as I was going to bed hearing the rain continuing to come down and it felt like that kind of downpour we get often," Mayor Buttigieg said.

At first he thought the downpour seemed normal.

"I think as I was drifting off to sleep I knew something was wrong because it just wasn't stopping," the mayor said.

The rain started falling and fast. That's when he knew his city needed him.

"I started looking into the calls we were getting into the fire department, the rescues that they were being called out to do. By two or three in the morning I was in the Emergency Operations Center with our command staff, figuring out how to coordinate the response," Buttigieg said.

That response included dispatching boats to rescue people from several inches of rainwater.

"The number of rescues going on made it clear, this was a disaster, not just bad weather, and by the sun came up the rain had stopped," Buttigieg said. "By later in the day I was visiting families that had been affected, their homes being compromised or even destroyed. As you'll remember it was just before the first day of school. So there were kids, the night before school, wandering around front yards and porches after their houses became unlivable."

The recovery lasted weeks for most, but continues for some residents.

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