Family of 10, many others forced from homes and businesses after flooding hits Ottawa

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OTTAWA, Kan. -- A family of 10 was forced from their home in Ottawa as water rushed in Thursday morning, flooding their basement.

About 8 and a half inches of rain fell in a matter of hours in Franklin County, forcing many more people from their homes and shutting down businesses.

Now, as they wait for the water to recede, they're also bracing for another round of heavy rain.

"It was just a nightmare to wake up to," Kayla Sword said.

An aerial view over Highway 68 and Main Street in Ottawa shows the worst of the flash flooding that moved through just after midnight.

"We lost everything," the Ottawa mom said.

Sword, her husband Jake and their three children were sleeping in the basement of their one-level home when water started rushing in.

"The first thing I thought of was the kids," Jake Schmidt said. "I didn't want anything to happen."

Emergency crews helped the family to safety, along with five other relatives inside the house at the time.

"The water is still down there, halfway down our stairs," Kayla Sword said.

In total, crews made 10 water rescues across the area on Thursday.

"We're happy to report in all of those rescues, we had no injuries and no loss of life," Ottawa Police Chief Adam Weingartner said.

At least a half dozen businesses are closed because of the flooding, most without power and still under several feet of water, including at Smoked Creations BBQ.

"There's nothing you can do, just wait for it to go away," owner Chancy Riemer said.

He's already assess much of the damage done to his property. Riemer said they'll likely have to redo the entire basement of the restaurant.

"We probably got about two weeks' worth of work to get it back ready to go," he said.

Weingartner said pumps are working overtime and the floodgates along the river in town are closed.

"In all my years here -- been here for 24 years -- we've closed the floodgates a few times, but never three times in a year," he said.

For Kayla and the rest of her family, the floodwaters might have made their home unlivable, but it won't break their spirit.

"We'll make it through it," Kayla said. "We've got to stick together. We're family."

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