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December 30, 2011 04:53 PM

Flooded Homes Now Being Remodeled

Fort Pierre, SD

As you drive along Frontier Road in Fort Pierre, the water may be gone, but the damage inside the homes isn't.
  And many families are now remodeling to get their homes back to normal.

"It's kind of devastating.  It's a very expensive ordeal, and both my wife and I are retired so it's hit us pretty hard," Jim Forney said. 

Not only did Forney and his wife have to leave their home this summer, in April, just weeks before the flooding, Jim had open heart surgery,

"Was home about three weeks when we were notified that the flood was coming, and we were actually only given like two days to get out of our home," Forney said.

The Forneys were kept away for nearly four months, but getting back into their home was just the beginning of trying to return life to normal.

"And that's when we started the demolition work on the home and trying to put things back together," Forney said. 

After the 1997 flood along the Missouri River, the Army Corps of Engineers came out and evaluated Forney's home.  At that time they gave him three options: he could either leave the home and do nothing with it, he could sell the home to the corps, or make the home flood proof.

Forney chose to flood proof his home, so he would never have to experience something like what happened this summer.

"They said if I would flood proof that they'd guarantee me that I'd never flood because my house was above a certain elevation," Forney said.

But that guarantee didn't hold true when the river reached well above the elevation that Forney's home was supposed to handle.

"They also told us at the time that if we flood proofed, we would not need flood insurance because we were not in the flood plain, so most of us didn't have flood insurance," Forney said.

Forney has now had to fix everything at his own cost, which is irritating to him since he took all the precautions to make sure water never found its way in his home.

"I hope it never happens again.  I hope the corps has learned their lesson and that they'll manage the river in a little better way, a little more responsible," Forney said.
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