Heavy rain caused destructive flash flooding in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles on Tuesday, but city officials say another culprit was to blame for the wet, muddy mess: a discarded mattress.
Fast-rising water caused at least nine vehicles to be stuck in the the middle of streets in Boyle Heights, according to local ABC affiliate KABC. One woman reportedly had to be rescued after her vehicle became completely submerged in the water, and at least one homeowners’ basement was completely flooded.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) October 20, 2015
“I was thinking should I move my car across the street?” Boyle Heights resident Manuel Medina told the outlet. “By the time I decided, the water had already come up past the curb and it started coming over here.”
The heavy rain, however, was not the only factor in causing the extensive flooding: according to KTLA 5, a discarded mattress blocked up a catch basin and prevented water from running into the storm drains.
“Unfortunately, we have a lot of debris that floats down with the water,” the Department of Public Works’ Brian McCormick told KTLA. “We’re asking homeowners to check their property and look for items that could float down in heavy downpours and secure those items.”
Still, KTLA reporter Kareen Wynter said residents were “skeptical” that a single item could have caused such extensive flooding. McCormick had told the outlet that he could provide photographic proof of the mattress blocking the catch basin, but then apparently said he could not produce the photos.