DeForest residents struggle to recover after flooding

Published: Mar. 17, 2019 at 8:01 PM CDT
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After two days of heavy flooding, water in DeForest has receded and all streets have reopened. While things are getting back to normal for some people, others are still struggling.

Joel Jenswold's house is right on the Yahara River. He said thankfully, the water did not reach his house, but others on Stevenson St. were not so lucky.

"I mentioned our next door neighbor, I think they got what they said was a foot and a half of water in their basement, so we were bracing for the worst," Jenswold said.

Some residents said they had several feet of water in their basement and lost gas and electricity. A dumpster provided by the village was half full Sunday afternoon with ruined furniture and other belongings.

Residents also said the amount of water was unexpected.

"I said we have nothing to worry about, that water can never get as high as our house, and it almost did," Jenswold said.

Even for people whose houses weren't damaged, the flooding was a nerve wracking experience.

"The river behind our house kept rising and it's been bad before but it's never risen how big it was," said Darya Ellickson, whose backyard flooded.

Ellickson said she is grateful the damage is not worse.

"I'm really fortunate to be able to stay in this house and luckily not have to throw stuff in a dumpster," she said.

As for residents who had to evacuate, many are still in hotels or staying with family. At this point, they do not know when or even if they can go back home.