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August 21, 2014

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Officials: 5 vacant homes gone in Arizona flooding

Beaver Dam

Mesquite

BEAVER DAM, Ariz. — Five vacant homes have been swept away by flooding in northwestern Arizona since a powerful storm system arrived — and more were in danger, fire officials said Wednesday.

The fifth home was washed away Tuesday night, said Dori Rothenberger, a dispatcher with the Beaver Dam-Littlefield Fire District. The homes were each valued at about $220,000.

The structures were among about 180 homes and trailers in the Beaver Dam RV Resort, a golf course community in a wash affected by flooding, said Bill Evans, chairman of the Virgin River Domestic Wastewater Improvement District board.

Evans said flooding had eased from Tuesday night, but "if it rises again, more homes will definitely go."

Resident Tom Gates said the rain seemed heavier Wednesday.

"Everybody is pulling stuff out of their houses now, ready to get out of here," he said as he helped remove pictures, furniture and appliances from the homes of neighbors.

Gates had watched as homes collapsed and were carried away in the wash. Electricity was out, and neighbors living on higher ground were offering spare bedrooms to those who were leaving their own homes, he said.

Beaver Dam is in the northwest corner of Arizona between Utah and Nevada with a population between 3,500 and 5,000 people.

The same wash flooded in 2005. More than 20 homes in the area were damaged or destroyed that year. About 40 homes and garages in nearby Mesquite, Nev., also were damaged.

"It's kind of odd that it happens twice in five or six years," Gates said. "Things happen, I guess, and it's really too bad."

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