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ABC 10 News San Diego

A Shelltown family whose home was destroyed in the Jan. 22 flood is now pursuing legal action against the City of San Diego.

ABC 10News met Ana Ramirez the day after the flood and learned of her heroism.

The storm drain next to her home and others in a cul-de-sac down Yama Street were submerged, and Ramirez had to swim from house to house to help save her neighbors from drowning.

"I mean, we were fighting for our lives. We didn't know if we were gonna make it or not," Ramirez said.

Ramirez can still remember every harrowing detail about the Jan. 22 flood that destroyed her family's home that they've lived in for more than three decades, but she said she's thankful today that at least her family and neighbors all survived.

Two months later, Ramirez and her family are moving forward and rebuilding. Her home has new wall frames, and the floors are still being put in.

Ramirez and her family are staying at the Ramada Hotel in National City, but Ramirez said they only sleep there. When they wake up, they immediately come back to their home on Yama Street and continue to work on their home.

As another part of rebuilding back what they lost, Ramirez said she's now taking legal action against the City of San Diego. She said she and her family are filing legal claims to be compensated for damages and more.

Ramirez said she's signed a contingency plan with Singleton Schreiber.

"We want the law firm that represents us to be fearless," Ramirez said.

Domenic Martini, a flood attorney with Singleton Schreiber, said, "A contingency basis means we don’t recover anything. We don’t get paid unless we recover something for the flood victims."

Martini said his firm is representing around 100 families, who are mostly renters that live along the Chollas Creek.

"The entire community has kind of come together in these areas. It's started a movement that I think is going to end up protecting this community for generations to come," Martini said. "We've submitted public records requests online and we plan to review the maintenance logs, their storm water infrastructure plans, to determine exactly where around these areas infrastructure failed."

Ramirez said she and her neighbors are constantly in touch, either in chat groups or attending meetings at the community center, to talk about their next steps.

"I’ve reached out to a lot of neighbors and told them about the law firm we signed with, and I will send them information," Ramirez said. "I know that some don’t want to make the decision quickly, so they kind of wanna do more research and make sure they’re getting the right firm."

ABC 10News reached out to the city for a response on the potential legal claims, but they did not respond as of the publication of this story.

Martini said flood victims only have about four more months left to file claims against the city if they want to pursue legal action. Those claims have to be filed before July 22.

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