Residents Assess Their Flood-Damaged Homes

Sunday, July 8th 2007, 9:16 pm
By: News On 6

The Environmental Protection Agency is warning people to take precautions as they go back to their flood-damaged homes. Coffeyville is still cordoned off. The News On 6's Joshua Brakhage reports flood victims there still can't get back to their homes, but in South Coffeyville, there are no roadblocks, no police tape, just wet, muddy, greasy heartache.

"There was nothing left here but what we tied down,” said resident Scotty Herriman.

Herriman and his wife Jo left their trailer home and moved into their barn as the water rose. The only thing inside is a crew testing for toxins in the air.

Herriman's home is on a hill about three-quarters of a mile away from the Verdigris River. But the water still got six foot tall on a barn and crushed the north side and snapped the support beams in there. It also snapped his corn. He'll lose that crop and maybe many more because of the oil. That's the worst part, plus the uncertainty that comes along with it.

Herriman says he's lost $200,000 worth of crops. He won't see any income again until next June when he harvests wheat. That's if it can survive in the oil-soaked soil.

"Everything we pick up has got oil on it,” Herriman said. “We're assuming it's okay, but we've got to go on, get things picked up, and get back to life.

Down the road, Dave and Sue Sanford are gutting their garage. A donated dumpster is piled high with water damaged equipment from a home-grown trophy business.

Around the corner, the water line on Karen Pfister's house is just inches from the roof. Someone dropped off two new shovels and rakes, but cleanup is probably impossible, so she plans to tear down her home.

Even surrounded by debris and broken dreams, residents are keeping a winning attitude.

"We know one thing: there is a tomorrow and the sun is shining, and all of us are still walking, and we've still got food, so we're greatly appreciative of that,” said Herriman.

Proof even an oil slick has a silver lining.

Watch the video: South Coffeyville Residents Face The Flood Aftermath

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