Draper man recovers 3 months after flooding damaged his basement

Nov 14, 2023, 8:08 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2023, 4:44 pm

DRAPER — It is safe to say Donovan Ramsay loves movies. That is why he is excited to put the finishing touches on his new basement theater.

“It’s my sanctuary,” he said with a smile. “I still have some minor things to do that still has to be hooked up.”

It has been three months since his old theater was ruined.

“The water came through this window and that window and the window in the bedroom,” he said while pointing to all the window wells in his basement.

Ramsay’s home was one of dozens in Draper flooded when heavy rainstorms hit in a way he had never seen before.His backyard includes a large rock wall that turned into a waterfall.

“It just came all the way down there and came streaming down into my window wells. It broke the glass and went into my basement,” Ramsay said.

He thought it was just heavy rain until his Wi-Fi stopped working.

When he went downstairs to check his router, he saw something he will never forget.

“I was on this step and then all of a sudden, I had to keep going up and up and the water got up to this step,” he said while standing on the 7th step leading up to the basement. “It was all the way up to here.”

It was hours before the water stopped flowing.

Even less time before his insurance company told him he was on his own.

“I filed a claim that day. That same day, they emailed me denying my claim. They didn’t even send someone to look and I am like, oh my gosh,” said Ramsay. “I am thinking, how am I going to pay for all of this?”

He doesn’t live in a floodplain, so he didn’t have flood insurance.

It’s something Utah’s Division of Emergency Management heard a lot of this past spring with record amounts of snow and water Utah received.

“It’s great we got all that snow and water because we need it, but the downside was all the flooding,” said Wade Mathews, who is the public information officer for the Utah Division of Emergency Management. “It was definitely an unusual spring.”

It has left many people wondering how to prepare for something you didn’t think you’d ever have to prepare for, as well as being on the hook for something that wasn’t your fault.

Even with sandbags, pumps, mitigation efforts, and a plan, you can still have flooding.

“Flooding can happen any place. If it rains, it can flood, is the saying that we use,” said Mathews. “In this situation, preparedness does not necessarily mean prevention.”

Even still, Mathews says it is important to have a plan and to check with your insurance agent about the different types of flooding you’re covered for.

“Surface flooding and flash flooding from a burn scar can qualify for some coverage under the National Flood Insurance Plan,” Mathews said. “However, ground flooding from water coming up into your basement isn’t something the NFIP will cover. It’s best to talk to your insurance agent now to see what you’re covered for and if you might need to purchase additional coverage.”

Mathews also says you can purchase flood coverage even if you don’t live in a flood plain.The state of Utah is currently updating its flood plain maps.

FEMA also has flood mitigation information to help people prepare.

For Ramsey, $70,000 later out of his own pocket, his backyard now has drainage pipes, raised concrete around window wells, and slope improvements.

“Now the way it is set up, everything is going to be rushing towards that way,” he said.

His basement is also almost to what it was the day before the flood.

It’s been one big horror movie he is happy to have behind him.

“It’s back to livable,” he said. “You pray that it never happens again because they say it’s a one-in-a-hundred-year flood. Okay, but when does a hundred years start?”

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Draper man recovers 3 months after flooding damaged his basement