WILLOWICK, Ohio - "The toilet was like a fountain," said Ardythe Getts as she recalled last Saturday's flooding in Willowick.
Getts had flood damage to her home of 57 years because of recent heavy rains. But she was not alone. She was one of more than 5,000 homeowners whose soggy belongings lined many streets in Willowick's west side.
The damage is so widespread that Lake County commissioners are seeking outside help.
"We want to declare a state of emergency in Lake County," said Lake County Commissioner Dan Troy. "We have now sent that to the state for passing on to the federal government."
Lake County Commissioner Judy Moran encouraged residents to begin cleaning up on their own while county officials work to get aid.
"What we need people to do", said Moran, "is get their stuff out on the tree lawns. Be patient, the trucks are coming."
An army of men and trucks were coming and going through Getts' neighborhood as they filled frontend loaders with damaged carpeting and furniture. The damaged furnishings will be taken to the county's solid waste facility in Painesville Township.
County officials said all fees have been waived for pickups and dumping for county residents. They also encouraged anyone who could take their own items to the facility to do so.
While Getts and her neighbors will have to repair interior damage and replace many items in their homes, they're trying to salvage more than just "stuff".
"These were the pictures that were down there", said Getts as she sorted through pictures of her family. "We think we saved them, you know, our memories."
Lake County officials encourage residents that feel they have 40 percent uninsured damage to their homes to contact the Lake County Emergency Management Agency at 440-350-5499 or by calling the 211 hotline.
For more information about county flooding efforts go to the Lake County Commissioners website.