Las Vegas Sun

April 20, 2014

Flood Victims Found Dead

Bodies of two men swept away by raging flood waters were found yesterday. Weather forecasters said there was a strong possibility of more rains and flooding through the weekend.

Mike Williams, 30, and Richard Hunkins, 24, both employees of the City of North Las Vegas, were swept away Thursday while directing traffic at I-15 and Craig Road. Mounted posse members began searching immediately.

Street crews in North Las Vegas and Las Vegas worked through yesterday to open mud-clogged streets, only to find gaping holes through fractured pavement in many places. Drivers who ignored barricades added more cars to the toll of abandoned and damaged vehicles.

Hundreds of cars were swept away at Caesars Palace Hotel. Cars and debris clocked a drained culvert, raising the water to 20 feet levels in the parking lot. Cranes were brought in to move the cars. Extra security guards were called in to stop looting.

The convention center at the Flamingo Hotel suffered flood damage.

Caesars Palace officials made available an area in the south end of their convention center yesterday for some 20 insurance adjusters representing 15 companies. The adjusters worked with owners of the flood damaged autos to settle claims.

As quickly as settlements were made, the damaged autos, stored temporarily in a side parking lot were towed away.

At least 20 major intersections were closed by the flood. At one point, all exits from I-15 were under water.

Six Strip hotels were islands of activity, cut off from the outside world by the water. Some patrons didn't even know it. "We will have floating crap games before we interrupt the gamblers," one casino boss said.

English racing driver Stirling Moss was credited by Caesars Palace employees with pulling three persons from a floating car. Moss reportedly waded through raging waist-deep water to the car.

The deluge was spawned by more than two inches of rain and melting mountain snow packs. It was the first major flood to strike the city since August 1968. Caesars Palace parking lot was also the scene of major automobile damage in that flood.

Into Thursday night, manhole covers became fountains with floodwaters spouting foul-smelling water into streets.

Jim Scholl, flood control district engineer, placed the damage to autos and home at more than $1 million.

Residents with their own wells were warned by Dr. V. H. Ueckhert, deputy health department officer, to purify the water before drinking in case flood waters may have leaked into the well.

"They can do this by boiling for a couple of minutes, or adding two drops of laundry bleach per gallon," he said. Dr. Ueckhart said his department is setting up a program to purify wells for residents as soon as possible.

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