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MCSO: 2 dead in Gila Bend due to massive flooding

Gila Bend Flooding
Gila Bend flooding
Gila River Flooding Aug 14.jpg
Posted at 8:32 AM, Aug 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-15 15:48:54-04

GILA BEND, AZ — Officials with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office say at least two people have died due to severe flooding in Gila Bend following overnight monsoon storms that brought torrential rain, lightning, and thunder.

Gila Bend, a small town about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix and west of Maricopa, declared a state of emergency Saturday morning.

Town officials said people are still missing due to the latest storms and are asking residents to check in by responding to their latest Facebook post or text Town Clerk Beverly Turner at 623-734-6504.

The flooding victims, a man and woman, are not being identified at this time.

A temporary shelter has been established at the Gila Bend Community Center, according to a post on the Town's Facebook page, and the American Red Cross has set up a shelter of its own in the area.

Anyone experiencing an emergency should call 911, officials said. However, those with questions or who need assistance can also call 928-683-2244.

If you are located at the Community Center, you are asked to let a staff member know your name or who you are looking for.

In a Facebook Live video, Mayor Chris Riggs said he also requested additional assistance from Maricopa County and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office "to aid in this flooding issue that we currently have."

In response, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors declared a Local Emergency for Maricopa County and activated the Emergency Operations Center to coordinate community organizations and assist with response activities. The declaration also gives Maricopa County access to emergency funds to be used to support response activities.

The Maricopa County Department of Transportation has responded with crews and equipment to remove debris from roads and help with recovery efforts.

MCSO confirmed to ABC15 that several rescues were conducted due to flooded homes in the area. Additional details were not immediately available.

The Arizona Humane Society has also been deployed to help the affected families and their pets. Volunteers have set up an emergency animal shelter located near the Red Cross facilities at Gila Bend Elementary School (in the old high school gym). AHS’ fleet consists of its AKC Disaster Relief trailer and box truck full of supplies including pop-up kennels, food, blankets, and medical supplies to provide care to the pets in the temporary shelter’s care.

In a tweet Saturday, Gov. Doug Ducey released a statement regarding the recent flooding in Gila Bend.

"Arizona is actively working with local emergency officials to assist in the response to the recent flooding in Gila Bend. We are in contact with local first responders to provide resources and prepare a state declaration of emergency," Gov. Ducey said.

More than an inch of rain fell in the last 24 hours in Gila Bend, according to the Maricopa County Flood Control District's website.

State Route 238, which runs between Gila Bend and the Town of Maricopa, is currently closed in both directions due to flooding, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. It's unclear when that roadway is expected to open.