SAN CARLOS, Calif. – Residents on Cabaret Street in San Carlos are cleaning up from the aftermath of this week’s storms.
“The water’s seeping up all the walls now. We put the furniture up as high as we can put it,” said homeowner Pam Mertins.
Mertins showed FOX 5 a video taken when the storm hit Wednesday afternoon. She’s heard panicking when her backyard turned into a rushing river.
“The barriers from the doors are coming apart!” yelled Mertins. “I need someone here quick!”
By the next morning, the Mertins' backyard was reduced to rubble.
“This slate patio my husband spent a lifetime building. Now it’s gone,” said Mertins.
Adding insult to injury, Mertins said she’s not covered.
“We never in our wildest dreams imagined we had to have flood insurance," she told FOX 5.
She’s not the only one.
In Point Loma, Kelly Fouquier is picking through her flood-soaked apartment.
“This couch was brand new. That chest was at least $2,000,” said Fouquier. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. The city nor my landlord has been able to help and my renter’s insurance is saying I’m not covered.”
“Flood is not covered,” confirmed Evan Walker.
Walker is a San Diego Property Damage Lawyer , but he’s also a victim of Hurricane Katrina. He said unfortunately, people often assume they’re covered when it comes to flooding.
“The only way to get flood insurance is through the federal government,” said Walker. “The problem arises because these policies are 30-page contracts. It’s full of obtuse, difficult language that even a sophisticated person is going to find hard to understand.”
Walker said even if you’re not insured and your home is damaged, you should still call the insurance company.
“If and when the insurance company sends someone out there, document what they do. Document the time they spent out there and read your policy,” said Walker.
As El Niño is expected to bring very powerful storms this winter, Walker encouraged residents to get flood insurance immediately.
“The caveat to that is there’s going to be at least a 30-day waiting period,” said Walker. “Contact your insurance agent and talk to them.”
In San Carlos, residents said the deluge was from a leaky stormwater pipe, which the city of San Diego was warned about in October.
“People had come out but to my knowledge, no repair had been done they were going to try and put it on a priority list,” said Mertins.
The pipe is now under repair and the Public Works Department is investigating.
“They’ve been really good, the city engineer was out here,” said Mertins.
Mertins said she and her neighbors are also working with the Risk Management Department. However, they can’t help but wonder if all of it could have been avoided in the first place.
“When you look at this you never in your wildest dreams imagine this would happen,” Mertins said through tears. “We don’t want to go through this we just redid our house four months ago. We have no idea what we’re supposed to do next.”
Fouquier said the flooding has left her life in ruins.
"Most of it’s probably not going to be salvaged and it’s really sad," said Fouquier. "You know, this pretty much just made me homeless."
Fouquier is turning to the community for support through her fundraising page.