Recent Flood Leaves Little For Returning Homeowners

Wednesday, July 11th 2007, 8:45 pm
By: News On 6

It was a heartbreaking day in Coffeyville, Kansas. After being closed for 10 days because of health concerns, the neighborhoods affected by last week's flooding were reopened. The News On 6’s Chris Wright reports most victims we talked to say they already knew the fate of their homes, but the overwhelming reality of the disaster did not set in until Wednesday morning.

It was a sad scene that was repeated all across flood-ravaged east Coffeyville Wednesday. Everything the Trotters could salvage was laid out on their lawn. It didn't amount to much, mostly trinkets and other mementos. Most of the family's possessions are ruined.

"Considering we had 34 years of stuff in that house, and this is all we have left after 34 years, it's pretty sad. It's sad,” said Rhonda Trotter.

Unfortunately many of the yards in Coffeyville look just like the Trotters, filled with what little possessions they have left.

The oily residue left over from a refinery leak kept victims out of their homes until Wednesday. All the houses were inspected and each labeled with a colored sign. A few lucky residents had green signs, meaning they can still live in their homes. Some had orange, meaning limited entry is allowed, but most, like the Kings, returned to red condemned signs.

"Actually, it's just terrible,” said Bargie King.

The family, which has lived in Coffeyville for generations, was only able to save some clothing and glassware.

"It's a heartbreaking day to go in there and see everything you've got go down the drain,” said flood victim Carie McCarter.

"Miserable, it's a lot of work,” King said. “It's something that all of your memories are right here, everything you ever owned is gone in front of your eyes."

Amidst the heartbreak was some humor. In addition to the colored signs, the owner of one ruined mobile home placed a creative “for sale” sign on it, hoping to give the neighborhood a much-need laugh.

Officials recommend victims immediately take pictures of their homes and contact their insurance company. They are reminding residents to keep all of their windows and doors open.

Victims also need to seek medical attention if they feel nauseous or dizzy.

The city of Coffeyville has set up a special web site with flood related information.

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.

Watch the video: Reality Sets In As Coffeyville Residents Return Home