Man who lived in flood control tunnel underneath Las Vegas asks for more help to protect homeless

Phillip Perry called a flood control tunnel home for three years.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:42 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Phillip Perry called a flood control tunnel home for three years. While helping some other homeless people at a wash at Boulder Highway this week, he told FOX5 about some close calls of when he got caught in rushing water while in a tunnel.

“I’ve actually had to spend two to three hours just on the ladder because it came that quick,” said Perry.

Perry said he escaped rising tunnel waters by climbing ladders that lead to manhole covers.

“I’ve had to come out of the manhole before. All you had to do is pop up the lid and we come out. We lose everything but we still have our life,” said Perry.

Perry now has a place to stay but was at a wash area at Boulder highway this week feeding homeless people and talking to them. He is concerned about two people who recently died after being found in a flood control channel near Mandalay Bay. The Clark County Coroner says it believes one of the men was homeless. Perry says while the homeless should not be in tunnels and washes, he says the fact is they are there and will continue to be. And he wants leaders to do more to protect them.

“I would tell them that, post signs is not enough. There still should be someone who comes past and let everybody know, hey, we’re really expecting this amount of rain and it would be wise of you guys to get out. Anybody. One person is enough to save everybody down there; lives,” said Perry.

Perry added, “A better warning system for them. And not everybody have phones. Not everybody knows it’s raining. When they’re in the tunnels, they could be sleeping and not even know it’s raining. And wake up to the water to their waist.”

Some non-profit groups go inside tunnels and washes to do homeless outreach and try to get the homeless to leave the dangerous areas. Las Vegas and Clark County do homeless outreach in the tunnels and washes too. Clark County officials say when they are made aware of storms, about a dozen people saturate areas that will be impacted by the storm and warn homeless people to leave tunnels and washes.