Floodwaters Rush Into Highland Park Elementary

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Dozens of people had to trade their work boots for rain boots Thursday as they dealt with massive flooding inside an area elementary school.

In the Highland Park Elementary School classrooms, water was up to people's ankles.  In the hallway, it was up to their knees.

Many we spoke with say Wednesday night's downpour was unlike anything they had ever seen.

Crew members emptied the water they sucked from the carpet of a classroom through a wet vac.  As many as 30 of them were under water Wednesday night.

So were the hallways, which looked more like rivers, and a breezeway that looked more like a lake.

Superintendent Mike Brown says, "I'm assuming there was probably five or six inches in about an hour's time that fell to start with. Then it rained periodically throughout the night."

HPISD Transportation Director Brent Childers says, "we walked into the building and they said we already had five inches and we got another six inches while we were here. I walked in when all these hallways were flooded with water up to your ankles."

They arrived here Wednesday night around 10, and it was the water on the outside that started to worry them.

At its peak the floodwaters outside the building were a few feet high.  School officials decided to open the doors of the breezeway so the floodwaters could rush clear through to the other side of the building.

Brown says, "we put sandbags on each side of that doorway and had probably six to eight people there with squigis and brooms. We opened the door and turned it loose."

He says it paid off because they eventually got all of the water out of the building.  But the images remain in their heads.

Even though he has lived in the Panhandle his whole life, Childers says, "I have never seen a rain like this in my life."

Now, wet-vac's are in classrooms, books are being set out to dry, and crews are scrambling to get the school back in shape before August.

Brown says once he and his crew are finished, they will bring in another company to make sure no mold pops up in these classrooms and pose a danger to children.