DeVon Anderson is helped out of the fire truck by Fire Chief Tim Saul, front.
DeVon Anderson is helped out of the fire truck by Fire Chief Tim Saul, front.

   Floodwaters created by rain and melting snow have resulted in the evacuation of numerous residents of a south-side senior living apartment building.

   Now the Red Cross has stepped in to assist the displaced residents as runoff continues to flood the Sandmar Village neighborhood.

   Problems at Kenwood Senior Living, 1479 Pleasant St., began Wednesday evening, according to resident Sue Matsche.

   According to Matsche, she was walking her dogs after dark when she saw water starting to rise adjacent to the complex.

   She and another resident then called the Ripon Police and public works departments, who recommended they remove vehicles from the underground parking garage.

   By the time they started evacuating the cars last night, water already was about 6 inches deep in the building, Matsche said.

   Since that time, the situation has become much worse.

   “Early this morning, we get called about some weather-related issues, some flooding that was occurring up there, so we sent squads up there,” Ripon Police Chief Bill Wallner said. “Upon arrival, there was some significant flooding that was occurring in the street as well as on private property, including that Kenwood complex. There’s some significant flooding within that building; the basement is full of water.”

   As of this morning, that flooding had nearly reached the ceiling of that lower level.

   Given that flooding, power to the building had to be shut off, leading to the evacuation of the building.

   “We assisted the management [of Kenwood] in contacting residents, going door to door, and then eventually assisting them with evacuating most people,” Wallner said. “Because the water depth was getting so high outside of the complex, we couldn’t use personal vehicles to get them out because we were afraid they would stall in the water on the street. So we utilized the fire truck to get them from the building out to the dry pavement, where we then could use buses that were supplied to us through the generosity of Diverse Options.”

   In small groups, residents were taken through the flood water via the fire trucks, and then slowly helped out of the fire trucks.

   All appeared to come with small suitcases; others came with pets and other necessities.

   Ald. Al Schraeder, who is CEO of Diverse Options and who has family living in the complex, was on hand helping with the transportation.

   Once onto buses, those residents were taken to the Ripon Senior Center, where — amid other senior activities such as stretching and card-playing already ongoing — were aided by the American Red Cross.

   According to Tom Powell of the Red Cross, the relief organization was contacted first thing this morning. Since that time, it’s been seeking to fill the needs of displaced residents, such as providing food, drinks and working toward finding residents somewhere to sleep for now.

   Cases are being opened for each displaced resident, he explained.

   With those residents now accounted for, Wallner noted that no immediate health or well-being concerns are known to the city.

   “We didn’t have anybody that seemed to be injured or requesting any type of medical assistance,” he said. “[But] at this point, I have no idea how long it’s going to be before people can return to that building, based on the amount of water that’s there and the damage to the building.”

Stay with for updates on this story, and read the March 21, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press for much more on the larger reach of flooding in the Ripon area.