Faces of the Flood: Quick action after flood saves Barnum homeQuick action after flood saves Barnum home
By: Jolynne Denman, Pine Journal
After spending the majority of the first night of the June flood awake and pumping out water from the basement of his mother’s home, Jerry Shank said they were fortunate the house was not more severely damaged. The Moose Horn River – which runs about 50 feet away from the house – came four to six inches high onto the first floor June 21 for five or six hours, Shank said.
It helped that Shank was very proactive. As the water was rising closer to the house, he took precautions and moved all the furniture and belongs onto the counters.
“Water was rushing in through two of the basement windows, while I was down there,” he said. “I rushed out of there as soon as I could.”
To stay ahead of the water from rising up further into the house, Shank went to look for a back-up pump in case the sump pump in the basement shut down.
“I wasn’t going to leave my mother standing on her deck while water is rising up from the basement and around her,” he said, noting that his mom, Josie Shank, 83, had never had any flooding in the home before.
“When I came back with an industrial pump, the ride back home was unbelievable. I saw propane tanks bobbing up and down in the water, and oil barrels, and even flower pots went sailing by,” Shank recalled. “I barely made it back; the water was up to the bottom of the headlights of my Ford Explorer and it almost stalled out.”
After the water was pumped out, Shank immediately went to work before any black mold could settle into the house foundations. He took out all of the basement flooring and the walls. He also replaced the breaker, the furnace and the water heater. To substitute the sheet rock on the walls, Shank temporarily used chip board for walls.
“It came to about $25,000 in damages, and I did all the work in the house. I put two dehumidifiers in the basement, and took out stuff to dry out in the sun,” he said. “My mom stayed with my sister while I worked on the house.”
Looking back on his experience on the flood, Jerry Shank is better prepared for what the future will bring.
“I hope it never happens again. It can’t be a new experience every year,” he said. “I know we’re definitely getting flood insurance this year.”