Searchers find body of girl swept away by flood - East Valley Tribune: News

Searchers find body of girl swept away by flood

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Posted: Tuesday, August 9, 2005 5:13 pm | Updated: 9:19 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The worst flooding and damage from Tuesday’s monsoon storm was concentrated north of Scottsdale and in Mesa. The storm turned deadly in the Seven Springs area three miles north of Cave Creek, where the body of Marisa Reyes, 7, was recovered. View Tribune readers' submitted photos.

View storm slideshow.

She was discovered about 7:30 a.m. today, 1 1/2 miles away from where she was swept away from a ranch hand’s grasp as her family was trying to flee the storm.

Maricopa County sheriff’s Sgt. Travis Anglin said the recent Cave Creek Complex fire destroyed much of the vegetation that might have prevented the formation of the 8-foot wall of water that claimed Marisa.

“The combination of the severe storm and the fire damage is what caused this flash flood and ultimately led to this young girl’s death,” he said.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported in Mesa, but a lightning strike near Seventh Avenue and Ashbrook knocked out power to 13 homes, said Mary Cameli, Mesa deputy fire chief.

The Red Cross was called out to a neighborhood northwest of Gilbert Road and University Drive after water either entered or came close to seeping into about 30 homes, but all the affected residents stayed home, Cameli said.

She said the worst flooding was seen in the area bounded roughly by McKellips, Broadway and Gilbert roads and Val Vista Drive.

This afternoon, Mesa transportation department spokeswoman Linda Gorman said about 45 employees were busy clearing storm drains of debris and working with Salt River Project to pump excess water back into its watershed.

Gorman said there are approximately 12,000 storm drains on streets and in retention basins in Mesa, all feeding into the SRP system. The heavy rain, not clogged drains, caused certain streets to flood, she said.

“It’s not that one catch basin is better than another. The problem is when we get that much rain, they’re just not equipped to handle it,” she said.

Rural/Metro firefighters were called to rescue three stranded motorists in the south East Valley between 4 and 4:40 p.m. Tuesday, spokeswoman Alison Cooper said. One of the drivers escaped from her car before firefighters arrived.

No widespread outages were reported by East Valley electricity providers SRP and Arizona Public Service Co., or by telephone service provider Qwest Communications. SRP spokesman Scott Harelson attributed this to the relatively calm winds of this storm.

“We’ve had a lot of rain in the last week and a half, but there haven’t been extremely high winds or persistent winds,” he said. “Rain is typically not a significant factor for us, though obviously the rain and lightning can be a problem, too.”

- Tribune writers Blake Herzog and Victor Allen contributed to this report.

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