Fort Smith Families Forced To Leave Homes Behind To Escape Flood Waters

FORT SMITH (KFSM) —Historic flooding is now infiltrating homes in the River Valley, forcing people to evacuate to higher ground. 5NEWS spoke with families in the area that have been impacted by the flooding.

It's been an emotional couple of days for residents in the neighborhood of Village Harbor in Fort Smith. Flood waters have risen significantly in the area. While homeowners are concerned, many have seen the community coming together during this difficult time.

Homeowners have spent several days preparing their homes for the impending flood, sandbagging and fortifying as best they can.

"We've just watched the water seep. If you're not here, you can't see that gradual water just coming towards you. Just gradually through the grass and it's just like a snake creeping up on you, and you anticipate the strike," said Judy Akins, a homeowner forced to leave the area.

At first, Akins believed her home would be spared from the flood, but then the prediction for the water crest kept getting higher, putting about a foot and half of water inside her home.

"You just go through this anxiety of what's going to happen when it gets here, but I told my sister in south Arkansas it's also like Christmas because you just prepare until the big day gets here and so you do whatever you can."

One thing homeowners have been able to count on is help from their neighbors.

"People just be coming down here and volunteering and saying, hey do you need any help with this. Need some sandbags, need help moving?" homeowner Mark Schuman said.

Cole Goodman, who evacuated his home Saturday, just came back to check on the status of his house. Water now sits in one room.

"If it doesn't keep on coming up then that's not going to be too big of a deal to fix, but if it keeps coming up then a significant portion of the house will need to be repaired, and that's a hard pill to swallow," Goodman told 5NEWS.

Akins says seeing the flooding is hard, but things can always be replaced.

"Fort Smith is the people, and that's what it's all about, and we're going to survive this, and it's all going to be okay. This is what's important," said Akins.

Most of the families in Village Harbor have now evacuated and sought refuge with family and friends or hotels and shelters. Utilities in the neighborhood have been shut off for safety reasons. Extra police patrols have also set up in the area to ward off looters.

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