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Dan Black interviewed by Nanette Barkey about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Coralville, Iowa, October 11, 2008

Dan Black interviewed by Nanette Barkey about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Coralville, Iowa, October 11, 2008


Dan Black interviewed by Nanette Barkey about the Midwest floods of June 2008, Coralville, Iowa, October 11, 2008


Interview with Dan Black (60) of Iowa City, Iowa
Dan Black (age 60), Vice President of Facilities and Security at MidWestOne Bank, tells Nanette Barkey about his experience entering the flooded bank to retrieve materials from safety deposit boxes. Black remembers the surreal appearance of the bank half submerged in water. Black also recounts a picture taken of Black and a colleague in the flooded bank that was circulated in news media throughout the world.
Vice president at Midwest One Bank in Iowa City region. Already had natural disaster history with Parkersburg's tornado. Lost four buildings in a fourteen day span. In Waterloo, lost one bank. About one half hour to one hour warning to evacuate. No preparation to evacuate properly (00:00:15) -- Trouble with paper deposits, file cabinets, the vault due to flooding. All communication via cellphone (00:03:29) -- Lost the bank Friday the 13th. 250 people working to get the paperwork out before the flood. Also started sandbagging - later suspended sandbagging. It was getting dangerous with the rain and thunder (00:05:29) -- Friday morning the 13th Interview with news station KWWL. Used a canoe to get to the bank. The bank was under construction when the flood hit - about a month from being completed (00:08:03) -- In the 1993 flood the facility did not suffer any damages (00:09:05) 44 inches of water in the facility in 2008 (00:09:05) -- Going to the bank in the canoe, scraped the antennae of a car they floated over (00:11:39) -- Helped other people get to their businesses to retrieve items (00:14:24) - - Customer calls from around the world to make sure that their things were not damaged. They had to extract some of the safety deposit boxes. They learned that the vault is not water tight (00:14:43) -- Have pictures when the vault was being opened. The pictures show the use of an electric/battery powered drill to extract safety deposit boxes (00:18:22) -- Photograph of Black and his colleague drilling into safety deposit boxes while paddling canoe with a shovel. This photograph used by new services around the world (00:20:50) -- The city would not allow Black and employees back into the bank to clean up and assess the damages right away, but eventually they were let back in (00:22:19) -- Friendships were formed. Sense of community. Bank customers and employees sandbagged (00:23:01) -- Lessons learned: evacuate items first, then sandbag; don't trust the experts about when the water will enter the building, there were water level predictions and history (1993 floods) but when new problems arise, such as the collapse of the levee near the railroad tracks, all bets are off (00:24:33) -- The 1993 flood did not damage the bank (00:26:51) -- Remembering the flood water: the smell, the water had oily film (00:27:25) -- Disaster recovery companies. Black didn't trust them but still had to sign a contract with them to clean the bank (00:28:35) -- Black looked at their equipment (tires on trucks) to make sure the company was trustworthy (00:30:00) -- Employees lost property in Parkersburg tornado. It was a humbling experience (00:31:40) -- Bank helped employees affected by tornado by providing them with cars and seven thousand dollars. One woman needed shoes, the bank provided her the shoes. Black recounts story of a large "mountain of a man" who started sobbing because of property loss due to tornado (00:33:00) -- "Everybody had a story" to tell. People asked Black if he would rather have a tornado or a flood. He answered "the flood" because at least you have better warning (00:34:50) -- Had images from inside the Parkersburg bank of the tornado. News services from as far away as Japan were interested in the photos (38:05) -- Problems still unresolved. FEMA helping community but not enough (39:12) -- Flood tough on people. Black has not dealt with FEMA personally, will not take aid from FEMA (00:40:38) -- Most remarkable story: drilling safety deposit boxes and canoe ride inside bank. Lasting friendships formed (00:42:19) -- Flood makes people more human and humble. Nature still more powerful than human beings (43:29)


Black, Dan


University of Iowa. Dept. of Anthropology; University of Iowa. Libraries. Digital Research & Publishing




Barkey, Nanette; Hernandez, Anaid


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Iowa City Flood
Flood Oral Histories






Oral histories (Document genres)