9OYS Special Coverage: Blazing Arizona

Homeowners struggle to cover fire and flood costs

Flood insurance companies don't cover all mudslide costs

CREATED Jul 27, 2011

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  • Video by kgun9.com


Reporter: Ileana Diaz

HEREFORD, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Putting out the monument fire was only half the battle, now homeowners are fighting floods. Even when the rain doesn’t fall in Hereford, the water leaves its mark behind.

"Even Saturday night when it rained when we woke up there was a huge boulder in our yard that wasn’t there the night before,” said Elizabeth Conley, who lives in Miller Canyon.

The mudslide left a mess too big for most to clean up quickly and people like Elizabeth Conley are finding out a harsh reality, even with flood insurance the damage isn't covered.

"It didn't cover any of the landscaping. It just covers it if it reaches the house and the 8 foot mudslide that came down that I saw it came within three to five feet of our house, the corner of our house,” said Conley.

Those who were slammed by the mudslide are hurting the most. The Martins didn't have flood insurance until now so fixing all the damage is coming out of their pocket."You hear the boulders rumbling down the creek but the water was in the creek,” said James Martin. "At any point you weren’t concerned that it would overflow,” asked KGUN9’s Ileana Diaz.

“No,” Martin said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         That's because the Martins lived in their home for 41 years without any problems but it's a risk county leaders say homeowners should be aware of.

“The personal responsibility that they have to assume by where they live and if they live near washes where mudslides can occur areas where there need to be trees removed them, they need to take responsibility to do that,” said Cochise County Supervisor Ann English.  

Even with insurance, most homeowners are walking away empty handed.  

“I’m learning a lot, got to read the fine print,” said Conley.