A retired couple stood outside the Martin Acres home they've owned for three decades as torrential downpours filled the streets last week, waves of water spilling into their home every time an SUV plowed past.

Next door, in a house rented out by a group of 20-somethings, the housemates had hunkered down and were watching a movie late the first night of the historic flood, shrugging off the building storm as a heavy rain. Their retired neighbors rushed over to alert them to clear out their basement.

"It just started filling up so fast," said Trevor Stark, 21, a renter who lives in the washed-out basement unit where furniture and appliances were destroyed.

Martin Acres -- a neighborhood that started out as a Boulder suburb in the 1950s with the completion of the Denver-Boulder Turnpike -- is a mix of University of Colorado student renters, young families and retirees. With houses on the floodplain, it was one of the hardest hit by last week's 100-year flood.


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Of the roughly 1,400 homes in the subdivision, which sits between U.S. 36 and Broadway from roughly 27th Way to Table Mesa Drive, nearly half the homes have basements -- presumably the majority of which have at least some water damage, say those in the neighborhood.

Contractors and homeowners Thursday were immersed in the cleanup process. Front yards filled up with destroyed belongings: a warped record collection in one yard, saturated dolls and children's toys ready to be hauled off from another. Soggy mattresses, couches and other furniture filled up many other yards.

Jimye O'Connor has lived in her home off of Moorhead Avenue for 30-some years. A rental car is parked out front after floodwaters totaled one car and damaged another. The inside of the home -- where floodwaters from Moorhead gushed -- is a whole other story, and piles of ruined belongings have been gutted from the home.

"I felt like the day after the flood, everyone in the community came together and offered each other help," she said.

A neighborhood listserv has bustled with requests and offers of help -- with families unaffected ready to help neighbors in need. A "bucket brigade" helped remove mud buildup in one home. Martin Acres resident Julia Bond-Howard said her neighbors were swift to gather and help her clear out her basement.

"I have to get new rugs, new drywall," she said. "I've got mold growing and my dryer no longer works. But all of my neighbors are awesome."

At a tri-level home sitting on Moorhead and 35th Street, floodwaters gushed through the windows on the main level as well as in the basement.

"That street was flowing like a river," said property manager Jamie McMaster, who ran water pumps for two days straight to drain out the house.

The owner is out of town, in Ireland.

McMaster made several calls to flood restoration companies, but some were booked and others never called back. So he buckled down and got to work himself -- setting up drying fans throughout the home, ripping up carpet and tossing mattresses into a rented Dumpster in the driveway.

The home is among the hardest hit in the neighborhood, with extreme damage to the basement, main level and garage. McMaster said he was hoping the buckled hardwood on the main level might be salvageable. He said he suspects water was seeping through the foundation, the shower drains and the windows.

During the height of the flood, he waded through chest-deep waters to get to a friend's home.

As McMaster was busy mitigating the damage of the home Thursday, he never mentioned he lost his own car -- which, a friend mentioned, had been totaled out during the flood.

Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman William Rukeyser said that of the 10,190 households statewide that have applied for FEMA assistance, 7,685 are in Boulder County. FEMA so far has given out $4.3 million in assistance.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132, anasb@dailycamera.com or Twitter.com/BrittanyAnas.