WASILLA — When the 911 call came in — waist-deep water in homes on Marilyn Circle — first responders were skeptical.
“There isn’t really a creek nearby,” said Rich Boothby with Central Mat-Su Fire Department.
Actually, there might be, but not anything big enough to have a name or to cause that kind of trouble. Responders arrived and, sure enough, found themselves in waist-deep water. Soon after, the water rose two more feet.
“It was the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in a long time,” Boothby said.
The street sits lower than everything else around it.
“It’s just like a big bowl,” Boothby said.
All the water falling on the area in the recent rains was channeled into that bowl, filling it up and sending homeowners scrambling.
Borough photos taken by battalion chief Jon Burns show water well up along the walls of houses in the area. With water more than waist high, responders couldn’t go in right away, Boothby said. Power was still on and they needed to call the Matanuska Electric Association.
“Dispatchers told people to get on counters,” Boothby said.
And that’s where the dive team found some residents, standing on their kitchens counters. The dive team used inflatable boats to get to them. One team member walked in front of the boat, another behind.
Overall, nine people were evacuated. Also, four got themselves out and one just needed help walking up a hill, so 14 people in five houses. Then there were the pets.
“The dive team, after they got the people out they went back in and got pets and things they would need,” Boothby said.