Ft. Gibson Flood Victims Voice Outrage Toward City Leaders
Several victims of Monday's Memorial Day flooding in Fort Gibson showed up at city hall to express their frustration with the city at Tuesday night's city council meeting.
"You came down there with your truck and your kids -- it was like family entertainment for you and we tried to -- No, i'm talking!," one Fort Gibson resident shouted at Mayor Brad Clinkenbeard, as he was interrupted by the mayor.
Heated exchanges and finger-pointing were front and center at the meeting Tuesday night, with flood victims taking to the podium one-by-one, voicing stories of alleged neglect and deception.
"We did not flood by rain yesterday, we flooded in the middle of the night last night because the city opened a manhole and let it run onto our property -- the storm drain. It was rising at 3:00 this morning," one resident said. "I called 911 from inside of my house because I couldn't get out with my kids. The water rushed in that quick and, you know, my dad drove from Okay before the fire department in Fort Gibson responded to my home? My dad came and got us out and he lives in Mallard Bay. He got there before 911 did. Why?," said another outraged flood victim, who says her home and car were both flooded.
Much of the anger was directed at Mayor Clinkenbeard, who took serious criticism from his citizens. "We're probably [deserving] of some of that heat," he said.
The city was accused of misleading and deceiving residents about prior flooding issues in their areas with some even claiming that the city is breaking the law.
The mayor says, he is making it a priority to correct some of the town's problem spots. "There is an issue that we've had for many, many years that does need to be addressed and I will personally start looking into that and see if I can address some of that."
But, for the people speaking passionately at city hall Tuesday night, they have made it clear -- any action taken by the city now, may be too little, too late. "I'm not going to sit there and live in a sewage-filled house and I don't know what these neighbors are going to do, but as you can tell, they're pretty well peeved," said another flood victim.
City leaders have maintained that flooding issues were common knowledge in some parts of town and that they have tried, unsuccessfully in the past, to get federal money to make needed improvements.