EVERETT — Just three weeks after they got the keys, Tia Scott and Tyler Denton saw their first house turn into a nightmare.
A June 10 rainstorm caused nearly two feet of water to bust through the French doors of their home on Wetmore Avenue. The flood knocked over a refrigerator before making its way through the lower level.
Within 15 minutes, the basement went from dry to knee-deep, Denton said. His efforts with a bucket were futile.
The couple were not alone in their misery that day. Since the storm, Everett property owners have filed nine claims for damages with the city, according to public records obtained by The Daily Herald. Altogether, they estimate the repairs will cost tens of thousands of dollars for homes and businesses, mostly on Wetmore, Grand Avenue and Broadway.
More than a quarter of an inch of rain fell June 10, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. Similar data was captured at Paine Field.
That night, an Everett public works employee visited the neighborhood and took Scott’s contact information, but that’s where the city’s involvement stopped, she said.
“I’ve talked to a couple of people and they basically gave me the runaround,” Denton said. “They send me to somebody, then send me to someone else and they say, ‘Somebody will call you within a week and a half.’ Nobody’s called yet.”
Kathleen Baxter, a spokeswoman for Everett public works, on Wednesday said staff have gotten back to everyone who submitted a service request by phone or online.
[Update: As of Thursday, city officials said they were in touch with the couple after sorting out earlier confusion about the right contact information.]
Some of that work separates sewer and stormwater, which is different from the way the northern part of the city was designed. Everett seeks to address what in the past has been a pattern of flooding after heavy rainfall. In 2013, for example, overflow damage led to payouts totaling millions of dollars.
The weather June 10 brought something called a “microburst,” Baxter said.
For a short period of time, there was “a typhoon level of rain,” she said.
Baxter said the city’s system fared better than it would have before the improvements. Still, problems sprang up, some in unexpected areas.
Everett’s strategies include the completed $18 million “Sewer M” project, the North Wetmore stormwater separation, the Grand Avenue Park bridge set to open next year and an effort to expand stormwater detention at Legion Park. Another project, Sewer O, is planned for construction in 2020. Elements may be added to address what happened June 10, Baxter said.
For Scott and Denton, a private estimate came in at more than $9,700 to remove the drywall and to dry out and disinfect the basement. Removing the water cost about $2,500, according to the couple.
They were about a week away from finishing a renovation of the basement, they said. It was being turned into a separate unit, which they planned to rent to help with the mortgage. A friend was scheduled to move in July 1. That’s now been postponed indefinitely.
“I’m terrified the street is going to flood like that again,” Scott said.
Scott said neighbors told her about floods in 2016 and 2013.
“When they said the basement had flooded before, I was like, ‘It was probably just a couple inches of water. We’ll just put some French drains in,’ ” she said.
Scott said they’ve been working on the basement since they bought the place.
“We were actually having fun learning how to do everything, before this happened,” she said.
In the damage claim, the couple included pictures. One image shows standing water and smears of grime inside the dryer.
Among the other claims was a report that three homes near 15th Street and Grand Avenue were flooded. One basement was reported to have up to 8 inches of mud. Most of the property owners said they were working on obtaining estimates for repairs.
One business on Hewitt Avenue reported water flow over about 10,000 square feet of space. An early bill for that cleanup came in at $11,700, with “more to follow,” the city was told. The work included five days of running fans and dehumidifiers.
An insurance office on Broadway said the problem has repeated itself with each heavy rain or thunderstorm. A contractor quoted the owner $8,750 for restoration, documents show.
Back on Wetmore, a renter on the same block as Scott and Denton said sewage went into her garage, damaging belongings.
Denton, 24, is a certified nursing assistant at View Ridge Care Center. He had just gotten home from work June 10 when he noticed the storm.
“I’ve been kind of paranoid about the rain since we got the house,” he said.
He called his father for advice. By the time his dad arrived, the water was inside the house. Denton’s dad shut off the power, and Denton called Scott to come home.
When Scott, 31, got back from PetSmart, where she works as a dog groomer and sales manager, she said she smelled something burning and heard smoke detectors beeping.
Floodwater made its way to electrical outlets and appliances. Their washer, dryer, stove, dishwasher, furnace, refrigerator and water heater were all partially submerged. Scott said the washer and dryer are working again, but she’s waiting to test the others.
A week later, the drywall damaged by floodwater has been removed, exposing the beams underneath. The basement still is home to blasting fans.
The city of Everett has a 24-hour line for reporting public works problems, including those relating to water, sewer and roads. The number is 425-257-8821. Service requests also are accepted through the public works website. If there is flooding damage, the city encourages property owners to file claims for damages as quickly as possible. State law requires that step before reimbursement can be considered.