by April Scheinoha
Flooding forced the evacuation of residents at a Northland Village apartment building Thursday afternoon. Water was more than a foot deep at Northland Village, 1508 Hwy. 1 E.
A service line that feeds all five of the Northland Village apartment buildings broke underneath a floor, according to Thief River Falls Water Systems Superintendent Wayne Johnson. Lee Plumbing and Heating had earlier requested the city’s assistance in shutting off the service line. While a crew attempted to shut off the service line, the valve failed. Flooding then occurred at building 1508.
A city crew was able to shut off the water at the water main, affecting all five buildings and two nearby fire hydrants. Those buildings remained without water as of early Friday afternoon, Johnson said.
Johnson noted Lee Plumbing and Heating will have to dig to find the affected pipe. Tenant Josie Francis, who told The Times about the flooding, said she had heard the underground pipe has since been located.
Francis’ apartment was one of five apartments affected by the flooding. She noticed that she had just stepped in water at about 3 p.m. Thursday. Francis soon observed water throughout her apartment. The water was coming from a vacant apartment adjacent to hers. It then infiltrated her daughter’s bedroom, making it difficult to open the bedroom door.
Within a few minutes, the water was already two to three inches deep. Francis opened her apartment door, finding water in the hallway, too. “I’m just like, ‘I can’t cry anymore,’” Francis said.
Francis’ 13-year-old son lost his entire room. She said she is scrambling to find him clothes for school Monday. Flooding also damaged Francis’ new bedroom and living room sets, among other items. Her 20-year-old daughter also lives at the apartment.
Francis, who is recovering from a foot injury, said her friends have removed items from the apartment on her behalf and have begun cleaning her apartment.
Francis’ family is now staying with friends and has since learned from Croix Management Company LLC that a vacant three-bedroom apartment is being readied for the family. “I just hope they step up and do the right thing,” said Francis, who hoped Croix Management helped all of the affected tenants no matter their loss. She added that she has had problems with the firm in the past.
The Taylors Falls firm confirmed flooding had occurred at Northland Village. However, a spokesperson said she couldn’t provide any further information.
by April Scheinoha