September 1, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
82°F

Monday’s floodwaters wash away driveways in Granger Twp.

Denise Green stands on a small stretch of land that once separated her neighbor’s Ledge Road driveway from hers in Granger Township. Floodwaters on Monday washed both driveways out and left very little support for the asphalt roadway. Green also lost her car, a Chevy Cobalt, when floodwaters rose too fast to allow her time to move it. She said the car was washed back into a field behind her home. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

Denise Green stands on a small stretch of land that once separated her neighbor’s Ledge Road driveway from hers in Granger Township. Floodwaters on Monday washed both driveways out and left very little support for the asphalt roadway. Green also lost her car, a Chevy Cobalt, when floodwaters rose too fast to allow her time to move it. She said the car was washed back into a field behind her home. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

GRANGER TWP. — Two neighbors in Granger Township aren’t sure how they’re going to get to and from their homes on the south side of Ledge Road.

Denise Green and her neighbors, Chuck and Linda Materna, saw their driveways quickly wash away as floodwaters rose suddenly Monday night.

“I would say it was a matter of minutes and the water started coming up,” Green said.

The waters also stripped away the grass and dirt that lined the south and north sides of Ledge Road. What was left is a cracked asphalt roadway with a steep dropoff on both sides and a deep gap between the road and their properties.

“It’s really dangerous,” Green said. “This is a bypass for (Interstate) 271 to (Interstate) 71, and we have lots of semis go by here every day.”

Green has lived on the street for 57 years and never witnessed anything that comes close to the damage at the front of her property. She and the Maternas met Tuesday with representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation, but they were told the roadway is safe, and it’s up to them to fill in the ditch that blocks them from accessing their homes.

“I don’t think I can afford it,” Green said.

Even if they could afford it, both Green and the Maternas pointed to water lines and other utility access points that may have been damaged by the storm. An access pipe to the water utility has been bent by a slab of concrete that the floodwaters forced against it.

Chuck and Linda Materna said they can get rides to work with friends, but that doesn’t solve their long-term problem of how to get in and out of their own property.

“I don’t really know what our plan is,” Chuck Materna said.

In addition to the driveway, Green also lost her Chevy Cobalt when the floodwaters advanced up her driveway without warning.

“I was thinking I should go move my car and looking out the window when I saw the water coming up,” Green said. But before she could get outside, the water rushed up and around her car. Then, the lights went on inside the car — likely, the water affecting her car battery.

“It was too late. There was nothing to do but watch it, watch the headlights as it floated around the house into my backyard and away,” Green said.

Thankfully, her insurance will cover the loss of her car after she pays a deductible. She laughed a little as she talked about her car now sitting in a soggy field.

“I have to laugh, because what can you do,” she said.

As bad as the situation was for Green and her neighbors, it was worse on Granger Road, where a dozen houses were flooded, Medina Township fire Lt. Brian Draiss said.

“Some people self-rescued and left on their own, some people sheltered in place, and we rescued four adults and two pets from three different houses,” he said.

Draiss said the conditions became so dangerous that firefighters called for help from Swift Water Rescue teams from Summit and Cuyahoga counties.

“There was very little visibility, and the water was rushing really fast,” he said. “The situation became beyond our ability to keep a safe environment for the rescuers and the victims.”

Draiss, a 19-year-veteran of the Medina Township Fire Department, said Monday’s storm was something new for him.

“I can’t recall a storm this severe with the flooding,” he said. “We’ve had problems on Granger Road in years past, but I think this is the largest amount of flooding I’ve seen.”

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @lorengenson.