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Idaho Falls homeowners face rough road to recover after flood damage

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - A week after flash floods surged through Idaho Falls, homeowners are still picking through the remains.

During the storm, waves of water came crashing into the numbered streets and remained for days.

Homeowners like Melody Byers struggled in vain to keep floodwaters from their homes.

Melody was in the basement at the time of the storm. As the waters grew higher the flood burst through her basement entrance.

She tells us she tried to throw her weight against the door to close it but to no avail.

Melody's basement was filled with over 6 feet of water. Her once comforting living room retreat now gutted to the studs.

"When the door opened, all the debris came in with it; leaves, pretty much everything, dead squirrels," Melody said. "Now the furnace doesn't work and a hot water heater doesn't work."

"We don't even know how much damage there still might be, because you can see it reached the ceiling."  

That wasn't the only home devastated. Andrew and Emily Pope were out when the storm began.

When they arrived back at home there was nothing they could do. Their entire finished basement, something they considered an investment into their home, was ruined.

"It was just a complete loss," Emily said.

"Estimated damage to repair it all would be in the ballpark of about 60 to 80 thousand dollars," adds Andrew.

Residents tell us the area has a history of small floods.

Lawrence Walton has lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years. He tells us the street's sewer system was installed in 1908 and hasn't been updated since.

"The city's known this has had an issue for decades," Walton said. "They need to fix it. It needs to be updated."

He suggests the city put in emergency pumps for situations like this.

Regardless, the majority of homeowners in the area are without flood insurance to cover the damages.

Local insurance agent Lucy Carrillo, explains most homeowners in Idaho don't get flood insurance because their homes aren't in a designated flood plain. Plus flood insurance can be very pricey.

"What we see usually is that the people that are required by their bank to carry flood insurance are pretty much the only ones that eventually get flood insurance," Carriollo said.

That's not to say she's not frustrated with the way insurance law works. Carrillo like many homeowners in the area is in the same boat, or lack thereof.

On the day of the flood, local homeowners were already receiving calls from businesses offering to give them a quote on how much their restoration would cost.

Danielle Stimpson tells us other local business owners, like Mountain West Rentals' Mark Andrews, refused to profit from their misfortune.

"For the next couple of days, he went door to door everybody to see who needed to be pumped out," Stimpson said. "And even though he owned this rental business could have made a ton of money,He did it all for free and all himself."

"That was incredible. He saved a lot of people's homes."

Other members of the community have reached out to the homeowners as well, offering services free of labor costs.

But without insurance, many homeowners like Melody are left with no idea what to do.

"I filed a claim with the city of Idaho Falls, and I'm just waiting for a response from them," Melody said. "So I'm trying to stay hopeful because if nothing is covered, then this would all be out of pocket."

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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