CLEAN UP

Flood victims continue to clean up as water subsides

2011-06-07T00:15:00Z 2011-06-07T17:26:29Z Flood victims continue to clean up as water subsidesBy CHELSEA KROTZER Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette

The roads leading to the Busy Bee Cafe in Roundup are caked with drying mud and littered with lost possessions as floodwaters receded from town.

It has been over a week since the southern section of the city was under nearly 6 feet of water. Soldiers with the Montana National Guard who stood watch at checkpoints left town on Friday when the waters went down.

The citizens of Roundup, like others around Eastern Montana, are just getting started with the hard work: going through their possessions, salvaging what they can and saying goodbye to memories.

Camille Feiock carefully sorted through her collection of vintage Christmas ornaments — a hobby started ages ago.

"One flood in my life is plenty," Feiock said, wiping dirt from a glass bowl. "I don't want to go through this again."

The Feiock's home of more than 20 years is gutted. A construction crew came in to tear up the floor and the lower 4 feet of walls ruined by the floodwater. The only things left inside are a few pieces of warped oak furniture.

What's left of their belongings is strewn across the lawn in piles, waiting to be sorted. 

The question now is if the barren building can be their home again.

"We haven't decided or made up our minds," said Allan Feiock, Camille's husband. "We have to see what the cost will be to do everything — the garage, shed, storage shed, house — our antique furniture — it's all gone."

The husband and wife have taken a week off work to try to get things back in order, putting another strain on their finances.

Unlike most, they did have flood insurance on the house itself, which will cover $60,000 of the damage.

That doesn't replace everything that they lost.

"It's going to be a long process," Camille Feiock said. "I'm better off than some."

Just to the east, the citizens of Musselshell are going through their own problems. Some roads are still washed out in the area. Fields remain underwater. Some residents have just began the process of cleaning up.

Andy Arrigali has been working on his house for most of the two years he's lived there. He installed hardwood flooring in the kitchen, wooden banisters throughout the house and had new carpet installed just six months ago.

It's all a thing of the past now.

Arrigali is focusing on making the best of it. He and his chocolate Labrador are working on cleaning up the place.

It's been a work in process, even during the flooding. Arrigali and his dog lived in the upper level while the basement and main floor filled up with water.

To let his dog use the facilities, Arrigali would canoe him out to some grass on higher ground. 

"I had a TV, so I was good," Arrigali said. "And my own bathroom up there."

Other Musselshell residents spent their Monday afternoon raking up piles of bark pushed onto the side of the road from the flooding.

Lynn Rettig, manager of the Delphia Melstone Canals, was trying to figure out how to repair the damage to the irrigation system.

The system irrigates 6,000 acres by three canals and two diversion points.

"We don't know if we can get repairs done to be able to irrigate this summer at all," Rettig said. "The implications for the area are catastrophic."

 

 

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