ROCHESTER, Wash. - Communities in the South Sound continued recovery efforts after destructive flooding from three rivers hit multiple counties. One family in Thurston County welcomed all the help they could get from family, friends and community repairing damages to their dream house they bought only a week before the flood.
"It was like a river running through the backyard," said homeowner Tripp Jones.
A waterfront property is not what Tripp and his wife Corrina had in mind when they bought the home in Rochester. He said the acres of land, a workshop and garden sheds were some of the reasons why they fell in love with the place.
"We looked for six, eight months, and we finally found this one, and we were like, ‘Yep, this is it.’ Kind of all and all, it was perfect for us," said Tripp.
"There’s fireworks stands on either side of us. And so, our first night it was like a celebration because they were lighting off fireworks all around us. So, it was just ecstatic. We were just so happy," said Corinna.
They moved into their dream home to start the New Year, and just seven days later they were flooded by the Chehalis River.
"It was four feet deep in 20 minutes. Just right now. It was really fast," said Tripp.
The "For Sale" sign was still in their front yard as the high waters surrounded their home. The flood spilled into their home theater where all of their unpacked moving boxes and belongings were.
"I don’t think we had time to think about fear. I think we just had to act and get things up and moved and make sure that everything was safe," said Corrina.
The family was trapped inside their home with no heat, no hot water and no power for three days. Family, friends, and community used a boat to get to the Jones’, donating food and supplies as they waited for waters to recede.
Also during the wait, Tripp made a rescue of his own. He said Corrina noticed something that looked like a dog stuck in a tree.
"I went out to go save a dog and turns out it was a coyote. I felt bad for him—we were kind of in the same boat, and quite literally we were in the same boat," laughed Tripp.
Their house is located more than a mile outside the floodplain. Tripp said they still bought flood insurance just to be safe. He explained the insurance doesn’t start until 30 days after their purchase date. So, repairing flood damages and replacing losses will be all out of pocket, including a furnace, several feet of drywall and flooring ripped out of their home theater.
"It wasn’t required by the lenders to have flood insurance. So, we’re 30 days after the purchase of it before we’re covered by it. If the lender would have required it, we would have been covered immediately. Seven days later, it flooded," said Tripp.
"It’s pretty devastating. I mean, we work really hard for everything that we have. And it was kind of a punch in the gut," said Corrina.
Their friend, Michael Caulk, started a GoFundMe account to help the Jones’ repair their dream home. People have also been stopping by the house to donate goods.
"We’ve had a lot of support from family and friends and helping us try to get back to normal I guess. There’s still a ways to go, I think," said Tripp.
READ MORE: How you can help Washington flood victims
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