WARREN (WWJ) – A 100-year-old Warren women drowned in her flooded basement.
Police confirm that Julia Sarno was found in the basement of her home on Village Pointe Drive near Martin and Schoenherr roads. Investigators believe Sarno either had a heart attack or fell as she was checking water in the basement.
Her daughter, who is 72-years old, discovered her mother’s floating body Tuesday morning, according to Warren Mayor Jim Fouts.
With tears in her eyes, Anna Stella spoke of the wonderful neighbor she thought was much younger than her years.
“Especially so close to my house, really, really sick to my stomach,” said Stella .”I don’t even know how to explain how I feel.
“As a neighbor she was great, constantly saying ‘hi’ to each other … and every Christmas I would have a Christmas card from her and for every holiday she would call me and say ‘hi.'”
One neighbor, Matt Prisden, was saddened and angry saying that the system was overwhelmed and the city should have prepared better.
“They should have had the sewer system better prepared, the city should have been better prepared for the storm but they were not prepared at all,” he said.
Diana Sarver is her neighbor, she said Sarno’s death is a shame.
” … it’s too bad and it can happen to anybody, you know, I was down there wading in ankle deep water, and I didn’t think about it, I could have been electrocuted or something – it never really dawned on me.”
It’s not clear how Sarno died. Police say she may have tripped and fell or may have suffered a heart attack.
This is the second flooding-related death reported this far in Warren — and the third in metro Detroit.
During Monday night’s downpour, a 31-year-old woman was pulled unconscious from her car that was filling up with water near 13 Mile and Van Dyke Ave. It was later determined that she died of a seizure, according to a media release.
In Oak Park, a Warren 68-year old man from died while trying to push his van out of flood waters near 9 Mile Road and Coolidge. The man was found in the water, dragged to a nearby lawn, and taken to Beaumont Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities say the man suffered a heart attack.
According to The National Weather Service, 5.2 inches of rain fell Monday in Warren, flooding area streets and freeways. Motorists who got stuck on flooded roads ditched their vehicles in search of higher ground while others stayed put, even spending the night in their cars.
Mayor Fouts, who has declared an official State of Emergency in the city, said thousands of Warren residents have flooded basements and the General Motors Tech Center was forced to close. Warren City Hall and the police department were flooded with 6 feet of water.
The mayor said has called on the National Guard for assistance and asked FEMA for funds to assist flooded homeowners in Warren as they recover.