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Fayetteville apartment residents to leave units after flooding

Management at the West End Apartment complex in Fayetteville says the apartments that were flooded out Thursday morning can no longer house tenants.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Heavy rain fell all across Northwest Arkansas early Friday morning leading to flooding.

The residents of West End Apartments in Fayetteville found themselves waking up to emergency crews banging on doors and telling them to get out. The flooding at the complex resulted in nearly 30 residents being evacuated by emergency crews. One resident says when he jumped out of bed this morning, he and his sister had water up to their knees.

“She started screaming when she saw it saying, ‘oh God, please stop raining, please stop raining,’ she thought we were going to get washed away,” said Brett Clark a West End resident.

Clark immediately got to work, fighting the rushing water until it eventually subsided. 

“It came in through the building and not through the door,” said Clark. “It came this way and it kept filling up one end, so I’d get it out and then it would fill up on the other end while I was getting it out and I did that back and forth all night for about seven hours.”

Flooding isn’t new to the area, residents and neighbors said there was another flood that impacted the complex in April 2017. 

“It was crazy, it was unexpected,” said Alfonzo Robinson, a resident of West End Apartments.

But as the sun came out and rain slowed, residents began to dry out. In the early afternoon, clothes and rugs were out on lines and cars as people tried to dry off as quickly as they could before more rain moved in.

The property’s laundry room was open and management provided residents with quarters to wash and dry their clothes for free.

Later in the afternoon, the property manager, John Cloyed, could be seen putting fliers on doors. The notice was urging residents to vacate their homes and head to an emergency shelter set up at Genesis Church.

Cloyed said he and his team were “trying to figure out what short-term housing needs are going to be. More than likely we’ll have to move people out to make the repairs needed, and so we’re kind of looking at what that’s lookin’ like right now.”

Cloyed later said the shelter efforts are part of the Northwest Arkansas Continuum of Care which sets up emergency shelters in situations like this to gauge how many people will continue to need assistance and shelter.

The main concern for Cloyed, his team and residents is mold and water damage. The water entered units from the south side and most of the damage occurred to north-facing homes. However, as the water began to rise, the interior connecting walls were also impacted.

Residents are being urged to leave and any paid rent for the month of May will be refunded. Cloyed has drywall crews scheduled to be doing demolition and repairs as early as Friday.

According to a note left on residents’ doors, the complex is working to rebuild, but residents must vacate their apartments by Thursday night and clear out their apartments by Saturday, May 7.

“This whole place was flooded, recalls resident Joie Millwood. “It looked like an ocean.”

Millwood, originally from Hot Springs, Arkansas moved to Northwest Arkansas in September. He says he has never seen flooding as he did on Thursday morning.

“I lived here when I was a kid, Millwood said. “I’ve never seen nothing like this.”

For Millwood and his dog, their apartment meant everything.

“I was out in LA homeless,” said Millwood. “And I came here, and I was in tears.”

He received one of the letters on his door from property management reading: 

“Due to this morning’s flooding, it has been determined that your apartment is no longer safe to inhabit.

You must vacate your apartment this evening. If you do not have family or friends to stay with, the Red Cross has a shelter open at Genesis Church on 205 W. MLK Blvd. in south Fayetteville. It is important to go there as soon as possible so that they do not close the shelter due to no one showing up.

Any personal belongings including furniture that you wish to keep will need to be removed from the apartment by Saturday, May 7th. Unfortunately, we do not have a specified time frame as to how long things will take. Therefore, any May rent paid will be refunded.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Hawk-I Property Management.”

Cloyed calling the evacuation is necessary to rebuild and prevent mold saying,“If we’ve got empty apartments that we can start working on you know, we’re looking at starting tomorrow.”

Cloyed says he has no clue how much it will cost for the complex to rebuild. However, with inflation, he assumes it will be a lot.

RELATED: “It's just all gone” | Flooding wipes out a Springdale garden center

RELATED: Tontitown mayor signs emergency declaration due to overwhelming flooding

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