Lessons learned from 2011 Labor Day flooding - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lessons learned from 2011 Labor Day flooding

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FT. OGLETHORPE, GA (WRCB)-- Around this time last year, record flooding ruined part of Labor Day weekend for many in the Tennessee Valley. Rising waters hit an apartment complex in Ft. Oglethorpe particularly hard.

Those who still live there say since that day they make sure to keep a close eye on the sky.

"I remember it just like it was yesterday," says Keelee Gilliam.

Gilliam was one of dozens of residents at the Battlewood Apartments in Ft. Oglethorpe who escaped the Labor Day floods last year by boat.

"We had to move our cars cause it was getting really high up to our steps and the next thing you know, fire trucks and ambulances are coming out here and we knew we were getting escorted out on boats having to wear life jackets," she says. "If you were standing out in the middle of the parking lot it would have been over your head."

Gilliam says it was extremely nerve-racking that day watching the water inch closer to her ground floor apartment.

"I was afraid all our stuff was going to get ruined. We put it on top of beds, dressers to make sure nothing got wet just in case our apartment did get flooded."

Her belongings were spared.

Brent Duncan wasn't so lucky. Channel 3 was there as he tried to push his water-logged Civic to higher ground.

"Walking across the grass right here beside us, the water was almost waist deep all the way to the road," says Duncan.

Before he was forced from his home he still had time to get his furniture off the floor but he couldn't save everything.

"Some of the toys that the kids had and some of the stuff that I had, that I couldn't manage to get up, it got some water damage on it and I ended up losing it."

He had to move out of his floor unit and says it took several months for the complex to renovate and repair the flooded apartments.

He now has a unit on the second floor.

When asked if he likes it better, he responds with a laugh, "Yeah, if it floods that far up there, I'll just swim out."

He's offering advice to those on the ground level.

"A young lady had moved in below me and I just advised her if she didn't have flood insurance, she might want to get it," says Duncan.

Flood damage is not typically covered under homeowner's or rental insurance so check with your provider if you live in a flood prone area.

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