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'It's Itching And Burning': Sacramento Flood Victims Complain Of Skin Burns After Cleaning Up

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Flood victims in North Sacramento just can't get a break. Jill Perlman has been cleaning up ever since a historic rainstorm left Life Storage off Pell Drive sitting in floodwater. Now multiple people, including Perlman, are complaining of burns on their skin and trouble breathing.

"I reached out to my doctor and said I need something and they prescribed an inhaler for me just to keep everything clear," said Perlman.

Dominick Palumbo initially showed CBS13 what he had to clean up and after we checked back in with him a week later. He now has a rash spreading across his body and down his arms. He and others blame contaminated floodwater.

"It's itching and burning at the same time," said Palumbo. "My wife couldn't breathe. She had to go down to Antioch Kaiser to get checked out."

Perlman is holding on to bottles of floodwater hoping to have them tested to find out exactly what was in the water. The facility has hundreds of private storage units and the water flowed right through them.

"Feces floating in the water, no telling what they had because I don't know what other units had and it's all coming out of different units and combining. My eyes burn right now," said Palumbo.

A note on the office door directed people to Life Storage's office off Main Avenue to talk with management. CBS13 went there but assistants in the office said management wasn't there and they weren't allowed to make a statement.

Corporate officials later sent CBS13 this statement:

Like many businesses and homes across the Sacramento area, we experienced flooding at our Pell Road facility due to the unprecedented rains on October 24, 2021. This was further exacerbated by the failure of a city-owned pump that services a runoff near our property. The City quickly fixed the pump and by the next day, October 25, the water had receded from our property. Customers did not wade through water to access their spaces.

The safety and satisfaction of our customers is our top priority. We have made every attempt to contact the customers who were impacted. In addition, we continue to provide assistance with cleaning out the damaged spaces, including hiring a cleaning crew and providing other equipment and dumpsters on site for our customers to use. It is important to note that in order to rent a storage space, Life Storage customers, as is standard in the industry, are required to insure their goods through their homeowners insurance policy or we provide them with the option to purchase insurance through a third party. We encourage these customers to reach out to their insurance company should they want to make a claim for any damage to their property.

From water-soaked belongings to looters and now health problems, these flood victims have had enough.

"I'm mad, angry, man. Anger," said Palumbo. "Dang, I hate this feeling."

"I feel like I've been cleaning up a toxic waste dump for the past two weeks," said Perlman.

CBS13 sent a follow-up email once again asking for a response to renters' health concerns. We're waiting for a statement.

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