NewsCentral San Diego


'We made it out'; Shelltown residents go from rescue to recovery

Shelltown neighbors saved each other from drowning Monday.
Posted at 12:56 PM, Jan 24, 2024

(KGTV) — A 25-year old woman is one of many heros emerging from Monday's storm.

Ana Ramirez lives off Yama St. next to Chollas Creek where she grew up, and she lives across from her neighbor Yolanda Mejia, who almost drowned in Monday's storm when she couldn't escape her house in time.

Ramirez said the water levels got as high as the top of the roof of her home, and when she found out Mecija was trapped inside her house across the culdesac from where Ramirez lives, Ramirez and her neighbor Chris Gonzales immediately got into the flood waters and swam to save their neighbor from drowning.

"We made it out," Ramirez said. "We were dragging across fences and using the vines to pull ourselves through the waters. When we got to a roof, we got on top of it, we were able to get out."

Mejia said, "I feel blessed because she saved my life and my neighbor too."

Ramirez said her family doesn't have flood insurance, and at just 25 years of age, she needs to now learn how to start filling out applications with the CIty and FEMA to help her family get some financial assistance to repair the home she grew up in.

However first, Ramirez said her neighbors are meeting with a lawyer Wednesday morning because they want to take legal action against the City for not doing anything to prevent the flooding and how bad it got.

On Wednesday, Shelltown residents were on day two of cleaning.

At the corner of Yama and Cottonwood Streets, the City's Environmental Services and Urban Corp San Diego County came out with huge trucks to start collecting the mountain of trash that cluttered and filled the streets.

Everything fro mattresses, dressers, TV monitors, appliances, and more were being picked up piece by piece, but the street was still filled with high levels of mud.

City employees said they could pick up the illegal dumping in the Shelltown neighborhood until about 2 p.m. Wednesday, and that they would return Thursday.

The residents said they didn't even know the City was coming through Tuesday, but they were prepared to let go of their belongings destroyed by Monday's historic rainfall and flooding.

Ramirez has not stopped being a helper in her community, and she went around sharing with her neighbors that the city was coming to clean up, and if anyone could move their cars, it would be helpful for the trucks to get as close to the curb as possible.

To help the Ramirez family, they've set up a GoFundMe at: