Just after noon on Thursday, several residents of Ravine Woods apartment complex in Morris watched as emergency crews evacuated their neighbors by boat.
The massive downpour that made many streets impassable and forced an evacuation at Morris Hospital also forced residents of Ravine Woods and Tudor Park Apartments to seek assistance to leave their apartments.
At Ravine Woods, flood waters rose midway up the doors of the handful of cars that remained in the completely submerged parking lot for the complex at 241 Ottawa Dr.
Walter Kielar, a resident of one of the third-floor apartments in the complex, said he was surprised when he learned he was going to need to evacuate.
“I was about to order food,” he said, “when they pounded on my door and said we all had to evacuate.” He said it was some of the worst flooding he had witnessed.
“I never saw a road look like a river before,” Kielar said of the road leading up to the parking lot. Another resident, who lives in a first-floor apartment, said that at that point, water had flooded onto his carpet, but he was not sure the full extent of the damage.
He also said that, around 9:30 a.m., there was water in the lot, but that you could still walk on it. Within two hours, the lot was completely flooded, he said.
Marc Anderson, a landscaper with Branstin Lawn Care in Morris, said he has been landscaping the complex for the past 10 years or so.
“I’ve never seen [the parking lot] like this,” Anderson said. “In all that time, it has never, ever been like this.”
Numerous area emergency crews used rowboats to evacuate residents.
In the early afternoon, the Tudor Park parking lot at 100 Park Avenue was partially clear of water, but was significantly flooded in a lower portion of the driveway. Emergency crews aided in that evacuation as well.
Both complexes have experienced flooding before.
At Elliott Manor, a high-rise housing complex at 200 Waverly St., maintenance workers and a large team of volunteers worked laying sandbags along the perimeter of the building to prevent water from getting inside.
Jared Stevens, a maintenance worker the building, said he arrived around 8 a.m. At that point, there were only three present to sandbag the building.
Stevens said that with the help of Tony’s Pit Stop, they were able to move most of the cars from flood areas to the parking lot of Bottoms Up bar.
Soon, Stevens said, a group of volunteers from Morris Community High School arrived and began helping to sandbag the building.
One of those volunteers was Zack Laursen, a senior at the high school. He said he has a number of family members living in the area and wanted to help out however he could.
“I know how it gets around here,” he said.
Waverly Street, near Elliott Manor flooded, in 2008, as well. Laursen said they had originally gone to volunteer at the hospital, but were needed at the apartment building. They ran through the water, deep enough to nearly entirely submerge cars, to get to Elliott Manor.
Stevens said the staff and residents of Elliott Manor appreciated the work of the volunteers, who spent several hours lining the building with sandbags.
“We’re really happy with all the volunteers,” Stevens said. “We wouldn’t have gotten as much done this quickly if it weren’t for them.”
Corleone’s Italian Restaurant, Maria’s Pizza Restaurant and McDonald’s all provided food for the volunteers.
Barbara Kurecki, a resident of Elliott Manor, expressed gratitude for the volunteers.
“They did a really good job,” Kurecki said. “You have no idea how much the residents appreciate it.”