by Rick Poppitz
Special To The Gardner News
The homeowners at 109 E. Fifth in Edgerton woke up around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 21, to find themselves in ankle deep water inside their home. Ashley Gearardo slogged through the house to the front door, thinking she had to get that water out of the house.
When she opened her front door, she realized the problem was bigger than just water in the house.
“The storm door, thank God, is there. I looked through it (outside) and the water is up to here,”,she says while holding her hand out about hip high.
“At that point I’m freaking out, thinking what do I do?” she recalls.
After realizing the house was surrounded on all sides by four foot deep water, it didn’t take long for Ashley, her boyfriend Jake and her 11 year old son Conner to understand they needed to evacuate.
Ashley grabbed her car keys, although they would be useless since her car was filled with water inside up to the windows.
Jake grabbed plastic bags and put their cell phones in them.
Conner put on a pair of swim trunks, and taking responsibility, grabbed the cat.
With three plus feet of water pressing against the storm door, it wouldn’t open. They removed the upper storm door panels, the three squeezed out and headed for high ground.
Their vehicles were all in the water. They woke up a neighbor whose car was in rising water. Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor, lives two doors down from Gearardo, and she said she immediately ran to his place for help.
“I didn’t know what to do, so I ran there in my panic,” she says.
In the early dawn hours, it finally stopped raining, and the high water began to recede quickly.
“The crazy thing was, the water went down in, I think a 20 to 30 minute period. It was almost like somebody pulled a plug, and all the water was gone”, she said.
Gearardo said she has lived in the house since 2009 and up until last year, she was required to pay for flood insurance because she was in a flood zone.
She says sometime about a year or so ago, she was told she was no longer in a flood zone, and the insurance was no longer required.
“I was super excited when they said I wasn’t going to have to have it anymore. I thought – it’s never going to flood here, I’m never going to have that problem,” she said.
Now she has no flood insurance.
“It’s been an exhausting last few days,” Gearardo says.
A GoFundMe account has been established family-recovering-from-flood.