By Phedre Dumouriez
To clarify on the last story that was run about the event, the flooding was NOT caused by sewer back up from the new Casino. In fact, the actual origins of the clog is not 100% certain - though it may have been from last month's hurricane or the shifting of earth from the landslide. In any case, the damage was done and dozens of volunteers along with officials arrived to help clean it up.
Joshua Treeman was one such volunteer who was called to the scene to assist. When discussing the discovery with this reporter, he had the following to say: "Going through the tunnels I turned the corner and yelled a few expletives as I saw a large pile of bricks and dirt clogging up the tunnel. We discussed a few options such as a barge/boats to help clear it, and [someone] mentioned opening the top from the road but that was shot down pretty quickly. In the end we decided bucket brigade to be the best option."
The 'we' in question was retired Newton Construction manager, Charles Kuluk and the owner of the Gym, Riley Urquhart.
Mr. Treeman continued with: "As more folks showed up we made a decent hole pretty quickly. That's when Riley told me to take a look as he held his light on the other side. There was a large opening which made no sense of course. We glanced at each other and decided to adventure a little farther into the darkness. That's when we saw a large...I don't know...Abandoned town. Collapsed, run down building and such."
It was this description that encouraged this reporter to do a little investigating of her own - once the rubble had been cleared and the waste waters had mostly receded.
Upon arrival down in this underground haven for the homeless and hopeless of Asphyxiation Point, it was clear to see that the area was not as abandoned as first thought. I was hoping to find signs of life - including that of one "Old John O'Graydy' - whom Mr. Treeman had told me appeared to have been living in the ruins for years, trading homemade moonshine in exchange for food stuffs from locals he trusted.
But a homeless old man was not what was found. Instead, it was a case of hypoxia - due to the unclean and lack of air in certain parts of this hidden-away den. The island truly did live up to its name in those frightening moments, and had it not been for the preparedness and quick thinking of my guide at the time, this reporter may not have returned above ground to deliver this story.
Which leads one to wonder... if it was that easy for an elderly gentleman to enter and exit the area at will, with such unsafe living conditions, what could happen should others less wary and inexperienced find this dark and dangerous hide-a-way?
Messages have been left for city planners and the APPD to see what they intend to do with the area - either leave it be or block off the ease of access from the public. The Times will continue to investigate and share details once more information has been uncovered.