Archive for Monday, May 10, 1993


May 10, 1993


Arch Naramore's house sits between the Kansas River and the levee northeast of Lawrence purposely built on the highest patch of ground in the area.

It didn't matter.

The Lawrence Fire Department had to evacuate Naramore's family from the house at 8:20 p.m. Sunday.

The fire department said about a half-mile of water lay between Naramore and the rest of civilization.

Naramore, who said the water was as high as his belly button at some points, said he was up most of the night hauling his furniture up to the third floor.

"This is the auxiliary flood plain," he said. "It just fills up like a bathtub."

Naramore is one of several Douglas County residents getting headaches from the weather, which has dropped more than 4 inches of rain on the area in the past nine days.

Debbie Nall, 1501 R.I., woke up at 4 a.m. Sunday to the smell of gasoline. Her husband, Barry, went to the basement to investigate.

"I HEARD him sloshing around down there," she said. "The sewer had backed up and we had like 3 feet of water in the basement."

One of the items they found floating in the basement was a gasoline can that had tipped over, spilling its contents.

The couple called the Lawrence Fire Department, and firefighters applied chemicals to neutralize the gasoline.

Debbie Nall said flooding is nothing new to her neighborhood, where basements commonly fill with water during heavy rains.

"A lot of people had water in their basements," she said. "We're just the only ones with a basement full of gasoline."

Despite water damage to most of their belongings stored in the basement, Nall said she felt fortunate that they discovered the gas spill in time to clean it up and get the family out of the house.

"I was thinking, you know, the house could have exploded," she said.

Richard Wingfield and family had a hard time getting anywhere over the weekend. The township has one access road barricaded because of pot holes, and high water blocks the only other way out.

"It's been bad, but we've had bad years before," Wingfield said.

He said the water began to recede this morning.

SHOPPERS AT the Lawrence Riverfront Plaza Factory Outlets may cast a nervous eye at the rolling river, just a few feet below the promenade. Relax for now.

David Longhurst, plaza manager, said the Kansas River level is at least 12 feet below the building's first level.

"Even if it rose another 2 feet, it wouldn't have any effect on the building," he said. That leaves 10 more. "We're not going to get that much."

Naramore remembers the last time fire department had to evacuate his family. It happened almost exactly 20 years ago, October 1973. "It was acting the same way in that year," he said. "It rained and rained and rained and rained like this."

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