Flooding takes toll on home owners

Water spurted up from toilets, the shower, and the drain.
Nothing could stop it—not towels shoved into drains nor an army of volunteers pumping gallons of water for days.
In the 25 years Tom Steele has lived in his home at 656 First St. E., he’d seen nothing like it.
But this—and similar scenes—were seen throughout the district last week as homeowners battling rising flood waters saw thousands of dollars worth of damage to their homes.
“We had about two feet of water in our basement and it was three days of working hard to keep the water at a decent level,” Steele said.
“There was one night when we were all up at four in the morning pumping water,” he noted. “There were six people and it was everyone up from 4 a.m. until 10 working hard.
“I thought the water was never going to end.”
Last Monday alone, the family pumped 15,000 gallons of water out of their basement. Steele couldn’t begin to estimate how much damage was done to his home.
“We have two finished bedrooms downstairs. We lost a washer and a dryer and freezer, bedding, and our winter clothes,” he remarked.
He wasn’t the only one fighting floods. Leanne Donaldson and her family also were battling to protect their home from water damage last week.
Just prior to having completed the sale of their home at 1061 River Rd. in Burriss, and having already moved out, family members were checking it throughout the day last Monday to make sure it wasn’t flooding.
“At 10 a.m., my brother-in-law and sister went to check on the house and said only a little water coming in,” Donaldson noted yesterday.
But by 11 a.m., water had surrounded the house and it became clear they had to do something major to keep it from coming in.
“We ordered a load of gravel to put around the garage to keep the water from coming in but by that time, the roads were all closed and the truck couldn’t make it in,” she recalled.
By noon, water already was seeping into the house through the attached garage. “It was in the kitchen and the living room. The water was a foot deep,” Donaldson said.
“We had to take out all the flooring and the sub-flooring, and cut off the gyp rock on the living room walls.”
Up to a dozen people—family, friends, and neighbours—all helped to keep the house dry or to clean up after the flood.
“We were really lucky we had moved all our stuff out and had only a little left,” she said, adding her husband, Lee, took a boat to retrieve what was left at the house the following day.
Fortunately for Donaldson, the water subsided almost as soon as it came in, leaving the house in better shape than it could have been.
“The house is structurally great. If it had sat there, the water would have seeped into the walls, but it didn’t,” she noted.
“The flower beds in the yard all look great,” she chuckled.
Donaldson added no one had ever seen flooding like that before.
“Last year in the storms, there was flooding but our house never got flooded,” she noted. “Back then, everyone thought it was as bad as it could possibly get.”