The house had about four feet of water in front of it Monday morning. (Courtesy photo)

NEWFIELD, N.Y. – When a flood watch was issued Sunday night in Newfield, the Sims family didn’t worry about it too much — their home was not in the flood zone.


[fvplayer src=”″ loop=”fale” mobile=”″]

Bus To Nature: Route 22

But when a small nearby creek began to overflow that night, the water started moving toward their driveway. That’s when Rita Sims told her daughter Selina Sims that she began to worry the home could be flooded.

The house had about four feet of water in front of it Monday morning. (Courtesy photo)

“So much rain fell so quickly, literally, the next thing she knew there was water coming in their home,” Selina Sims said. “It started coming up through the heat vents in the house.”

Rita Sims began stuffing pillows and towels into the vents to stop or slow down the water — to no avail. Her husband, Skip Sims, called a friend who works at a garbage service and asked him to bring storage pods and dumpsters  so they could put their things inside.

At about 2 a.m., Selina Sims, who lives in Ithaca, got a call from her parents.

“They called and they were just crying. All they could say was that their home was under water,” she said. Her mother told her not to risk driving to the home at night.

The next few hours, the family moved their valuables into the storage pods and to higher ground. About six family members and friends waded toward the creek with shovels to try clearing it of trees and debris. They worked at the creek until about 6 a.m.

Rita Sims’ 19-year-old sister, Angela, swam out of the home though nearly neck-high water to save the family’s Pomeranian, Miniature Doberman Pinscher and three cats.

Skip, Angela, Selina and Rita Sims at Angela’s graduation from Newfield High School last year. (Courtesy photo)
Skip, Angela, Selina and Rita Sims at Angela’s graduation from Newfield High School last year. (Courtesy photo)

When Selina Sims got to the property around 8 a.m., she said there was at least 4 feet of water outside and about five inches of water inside her parents’ home.

She said when she saw the extent of the damage she didn’t know what to think. Her mother told her they found snakes and frogs swimming inside the home.

“That’s the house I grew up in and it’s gone,” she said.

The family had flood insurance, but was told by their insurance company that they were not in a flood zone and didn’t need it. After no flooding for the past five or six years, the family canceled their policy.

Selina Sims said the family found out Wednesday they would not be covered for any of their losses.

Friends and family members have helped the Sims family dry out out their home. They were able to pull up floor boards Tuesday and found mud and debris stacked directly underneath the boards.

The inside of the Sims’ home Tuesday.
The inside of the Sims’ home Tuesday.

The Sims family is staying at a neighboring relative’s house for now, but the two bedroom home is too small to keep housing them for long.

That’s why, Selina Sims said, she started a Gofundme page to help raise money for her parents.

She said her parents spent the past year renovating their home and finished about two days before the flood happened.

Donations are being accepted at Newfield High School, where her father works as a bus driver and maintenance manager, and the family has been in touch with the Newfield Fire Company about possibly doing a barbecue plate fundraiser.

She said about 20 people were at her parents’ house last night. Some brought the family food and clothing. Others helped pull up floorboards and take down walls.

And others brought tarps with them to cover the family’s belonging in the yard. More rain is expected in the area throughout the weekend.

Contact Jolene Almendarez anytime: 907-854-3248 | Email | Twitter | Facebook

Follow The Ithaca Voice on Facebook | Twitter

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.