Headed back home
Evacuation order lifted for residents of flooded Acampo park
Hundreds of mobile home park residents were allowed to return to their homes Monday after a week of dislocation.
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office announced on its Facebook page that the Arbor Mobile Home Park evacuation order had been lifted that afternoon.
“At this time, safety inspections of the general infrastructure and utilities are complete,” the Sheriff’s Office posted. “Power to the park has been restored, and no related safety issues have been found.”
The Sheriff’s Office said that wastewater and drinking water at the site had been tested, and no immediate issues were detected.
However, full lab results will not be finalized for at least another two days, and a 72-hour boil notice will be issued, the agency said.
County and State Community Development agencies have inspected all residences at the park and have determined that all homes are safe to occupy,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “While no immediate safety issues were found during the inspections, all residents are encouraged to check their homes for damage to wiring, ducting, pipes, etc.”
Mark Armstrong, Lodi Grape Festival grounds manager, said the facility accommodated 33 Arbor residents who were waiting to return home.
“We had people here who didn’t have anywhere else to go, no family or friends to stay with,” he said. “They were pretty happy to hear the news, but they were all going to go home (Tuesday).”
Armstrong said some 17 residents from the New Hope community of Thornton were still at the Grape Festival waiting to return to their homes.
Arbor residents were evacuated on Jan .15 due to excessive flooding from the heavy rains the region experienced in recent weeks.
Last week, San Joaquin County Public Works director Fritz Buchman told KCRA that a nearly $2.5 million drainage and pump system
was installed in 2019 in response to flooding that occurred two years prior. The system, paid for through federal funding, was designed to move water around the perimeter of the community in a 42-inch drainage pipe and then deposit it into Gill Creek and the Mokelumne River, he said.
However, Buchman said the pump stopped working sometime between 5 p.m., on Jan. 14 and 10 a.m. the following day.
During the storms, the floodwater also impacted several spots in Acampo, including the mobile home park and the Houston and Serna campuses.
“Once we did get it back on, the watershed downstream of us was so saturated that we had to shut off the pumps for a while to let the system catch up,” Buchman told KCRA. “We continued pumping until the fire department told us we needed to stop because we were causing downstream impacts.”
One of those impacts was that the diverted water began flooding Highway 99, which was ultimately shut down.
Both San Joaquin and Sacramento counties were placed on FEMA’s major disaster declaration last week, and individuals can now apply for reimbursement for emergency protective measures, debris removal, and infrastructure repairs or replacement needed due to disaster-related damage.
San Joaquin County officials last week said a disaster recovery center will be established “in the coming days” to provide residents with additional resources and information.
An email to San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services director Tiffany Heyer asking when a recovery center would be operational was not returned by press time.
In the meantime, individuals can apply for assistance online by visiting disasterassistance. gov, through the FEMA mobile app, or by calling 800-621-3362.
Sacramento County opened its own disaster recovery center at the Chabolla Community Center, 600 Chabolla Ave. in Galt.
Patrick Boland, FEMA’s media relations specialist, said as many as 40 residents had visited the Chabolla Center requesting assistance since the recovery center opened last Thursday.
However, he said that number had more than doubles as of Monday. The recovery center is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sacramento County residents who were affected by the storms and subsequent flooding can update FEMA applications and learn about state and community programs and other available assistance.
Specialists will clarify FEMA information; explain the rental assistance available to homeowners and renters; fax requested documents to a FEMA processing center; and scan or copy new information or documents needed for case files.
If you cannot make it to the recovery center, visit disaster assistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app, or call 800-621-3362.