TUCSON (KVOA) — Residents of an assisted living home were evacuated Sunday night after floodwaters entered the facility.
Rural Metro said ten residents were evacuated and taken to local hospitals for observation. No one was injured.
The facility is on Havasu Road, near Swan Road and Sunrise Drive.
Rural Metro Assistant Chief Jay Karlik said they were lucky it wasn't a swift water rescue.
He said there was 4 feet of water inside the home when the first team arrived.
Rural Metro sent three engines, four ambulances and a Battalion Chief to assist with the rescues. Many residents had to be carried out in wheelchairs, others needed oxygen.
"We have a strategy for every incident that we may come upon. It's all about organization and planning and making sure that we have the right resources in place and evaluating the whole situation," said Karlik. "And obviously life safety is number one in that case."
The home was empty on Monday but crews worked to dig tons of sand and mud out of the yard. A jeep sat caked in mud nearly to the top of the tires.
Liz Whitaker has lived in the neighborhood for 55 years. She also belongs to the Catalina Foothills Homeowners Association.
"It's the worst that I've seen and the damage was the worst because after last year the county came in and really did a lot of work trying to get that intersection fixed. And we got more water and it didn't work," Whitaker told News 4 Tucson.
Another neighbor, Enid Whittaker, has lived in her home on Havasu Road for 28 years. There is a ring around her house, about two-feet high, showing how high flood waters were. The beige carpet in her living room is now caked with mud. The most damage is in the library. She has thousands of books. Most are okay, but books on the lower shelves are unsalvageable. Mud and books cover the floor, inches deep. Whittaker said the water pushed the back door open and flooded the house.
Whittaker just had her pool resurfaced and now the five foot deep pull is filled to the top with mud. She said this is the worst flood ever.
"This time last July there was a flood but there was very little that came into the house here," Whittaker said. "You can't fathom it, it's surreal when you see all that water going by."
Whittaker's home belonged to a former colleague and friend. She said she isn't attached to things, but has lost binders full of press clippings, research, and memories.
"I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's hard to see all your neighbors going through similar circumstances," she said.