Storm damage cleanup still ongoing in Mesa community

MESA, AZ - With more rain possible in the next few days, there's a rush to clean up after the last big round of storms in communities across the Valley.

The City of Mesa was hit especially hard by the strong winds and rain last Monday.  

In a neighborhood near University and Brown, Tia Oso and her family were left homeless after an 80-foot tall Pine tree fell on top of the roof of their home.

Four days later, they're still staying at a hotel, courtesy of the American Red Cross. But, city building inspectors have deemed their property unlivable.

"It feels surreal. I can't look at it and think this is my house, and the idea that this is not going to be here anymore, it's unbelievable,' said Oso.

Firefighters who responded to the initial call saw the devastation and realized this family needed more help. After talking to an arborist and learning the cleanup costs to remove the tree off of the roof would be more than $4,000, firefighters knew the family would not be able to afford it.

Scott Crawford, President of the United Mesa Firefighters IAFF, said he put out the all-call for help.

"The call is never over until everything is done," said Crawford.

The following day, Crawford said more than 20 Mesa police officers and firefighters showed up armed with chainsaws ready to get to work.

They had the tree cut up into pieces and off the roof of the home within four hours.

Less than two miles away on Brown Road, the heavy winds caused the roof to blow off an apartment building.

The property manager of the Aspen Ridge apartments said they had moved more than a dozen families into other available units throughout the complex, many others were being put up at hotels by the Red Cross.

Hermitanio Garcia said he was asleep when the roof over his head literally caved in. Thankfully he was able to get away without getting hurt. 

"I thought the whole ceiling was going to fall on top of us," said Garcia.

The apartment complex manager said many families were in dire need of furniture. From beds to linens, and couches, if you are interested in helping, you can call the Aspen Ridge apartment complex office at 480-833-0082 and ask for Margarita.

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