Destructive storm leaves families homeless

Homes south of Wenatchee were pummeled by water, rocks and debris as a fast-moving rainstorm sent part of a hillside into several mobile homes.

One family had to be rescued, but incredibly, no one was hurt.

It's been at least six years since a rainstorm has caused this kind of destruction in Chelan County.  Rocks that were once part of the hillside are now inside mobile homes where families once lived.

The Rivera family is facing a grim task: recovering their belongings from what used to be their home.

They agreed that 10-year-old Allison could describe what her mother heard Saturday night as Allison and her sister watched television.

"She thought it was about the rain and wind," said Allison. "But when she opened the door, she saw this, like, river striking down from the ranches. But we didn't see any rocks there, just water."

They fled to safety.

Sgt. Kent Sisson was just about to sign off for the night when the 911 calls started trickling in.

"And then at 5:07, we actually received the call down here on Boodry Street that was just getting inundated with water," Sisson said. "And there's a culvert that actually runs under the Squilchuck Road. And that was just taxed to the point that water was running through it and also over the top of the road."

The sudden storm eroded the Squilchuck hillside and unleashed a torrent of water, rock and debris that flowed into three mobile homes.

Sisson says the storm left nearly as quickly as it came.

"Yeah, it came through and did its damage, and then it was over," he said.

And just like that, three families were left homeless.

"Like an hour later, we came back and we saw all of the dirt, all muddy," said Allison.  "And then we saw the rocks there."

Now all three mobile homes are red-tagged, meaning they are uninhabitable.

The Red Cross is offering assistance to the families.

Sisson says Chelan County will work with the families to try to help them get back on their feet. Based on the damage, that will likely take time.

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