Receding floodwaters lead to homecoming heartbreak

Published 8:04 am Thursday, October 8, 2015

SUMMERTON, S.C. — The pungent stench of mildew greeted Asiah Lewis when she came home to her apartment, her footsteps making squishing sounds on the carpet as she picked through soggy clothes piled on a bed and a lifted a moldy shoe from the floor.

Three days after Lewis, her four children and her mother fled the Meadowfield Apartments in chest-deep floodwaters, she returned Wednesday only to realize that — for now, at least — her family is homeless.

“I’ve got some important documents in the closet I need,” said Lewis, 28, who grew up in the same three-bedroom apartment in which she had been raising her own children in Summerton, a tiny town 30 miles south of Sumter. “Pictures on the walls we’re going to try to get. Other than that, it’s a loss. Now I’m basically going to have to start over with four kids.”

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Record rainfall in South Carolina last weekend sent floodwaters gushing through Lewis’ door and seeping through the walls of her apartment before dawn Sunday, when she awoke to firefighters knocking at her door telling her to leave.