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2 dead, 30 people rescued from rooftops in Gila Bend due to heavy floods

(Live 5/File)
Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 4:18 PM MST
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GILA BEND, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- At least two people have died and a state of emergency has been declared in Gila Bend after heavy monsoon rains ravaged the Valley overnight. ADOT says State Route 238 between Maricopa and Gila Bend is closed in both directions because of flooding.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office officials said a woman in her 50s was swept down the river bottom in one of the washes. The second victim was in their vehicle when the floodwaters swept it away. The vehicle was found upside down. MCSO hasn’t released any names.

Deputies said they were called out to the Town of  Gila Bend around 4 a.m. on Saturday to help with search and rescues. MCSO says rescuers saved about 30 people on their rooftops, surrounded by flash floods due to the monsoon. About 100 people have so much water damage to their homes that they have to stay somewhere else. MCSO said as of 3:30 p.m., deputies weren’t working any search and rescue calls.

MCSO Capt. Joe Dietrich said there were about 100 first responders helping with search and rescues. Deputies will be in the town and surrounding areas until Sunday night because more rain is expected in the area. “That’s why we’re getting resources in place to include aviation, our lake patrol units with air boats, ATVs, search and rescue to include quick water as well in case we do have any flooding tonight as well,” said Dietrich.

Mayor Chris Riggs made the emergency declaration just after 7 a.m. Saturday morning as the American Red Cross was ordered to assist residents. Just a couple hours later, the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Jack Sellers, declared a local emergency for the county.

City officials are reminding the public that those who need shelter or resources can visit the Gila Bend Community Center. The first responders who helped are from the Department of Public Safety, Gila Bend Fire Department, Phoenix Fire Department, AMR and Tohono O’odham Nation.

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