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Residents Get Jump on Flood Cleanup

Minnesota: Ignoring safety concerns of officials, people are returning home to check on damage.

June 16, 2002|From Associated Press

ROSEAU, Minn. — Several anxious residents returned to their waterlogged homes Saturday to assess damage and clean up from record flooding, ignoring city officials' concerns that it isn't safe.

Homes may have been structurally damaged, and people could by sickened by being in the dirty water, Mayor Jeff Pelowski said.

Resident Peter Grafstrom spent Saturday pumping water from the basement of his riverfront home and power-washing his garage.

Grafstrom, who remodels homes, wanted to clean his house so he would be ready to help other residents in the coming weeks.

"I needed to get my own stuff taken care of so I can be ready to work," he said.

Nearly every building here was damaged by the overflowing Roseau River. The city of 3,000, about 10 miles south of the Canadian border, was the hardest hit by record flooding across northwestern Minnesota.

"People need good information before they can go to work on their homes," Pelowski said. "It's all about public safety."

Residents likely could return Monday, he said.

A flood recovery team of federal and state government agencies met throughout the afternoon to discuss the cleanup effort. A town meeting is scheduled today to give residents information about their findings and how to get federal aid for recovery.

President Bush has declared northwestern Minnesota a disaster area, making federal money available.

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