RIVER VALLEY, Ark. (KFSM) — Homeowners are getting back inside their houses now that flood waters are receding and 5NEWS got an inside look into two Fort Smith Homes where people are sorting through their losses.
Many people living in Canterbury Cove watched the disaster unfold, seemingly in slow motion. Tuesday (June 4) was the first time several of them were able to return home since the Arkansas River forced them out and left a trail of mud behind.
"It’s been very devastating. They’ve been working their whole life for this house," Fort Smith resident Brandon Nyguen said.
This isn't how Nyguen dreamed he would spend his summer vacation, helping his parents fix their house in the aftermath of flooding. His family's home on Canterbury Cove was flooded with several feet of water.
"It’s kind of heartbreaking to be honest because it’s kind of scary picturing we use to be in that house and now it’s all flooded," Nyguen said.
Nyguen and his family are still trying to get all of the mud out of the house before they can start ripping out sheetrock.
"I use to ride my bike around this whole neighborhood, I know it like the back of my hand, now it’s all under water, mud everyone and it stinks too," Nyguen said.
Allison Clem saw the inside of her mom's house that she's lived in for more than three decades for the first time Tuesday.
"We knew it was bad but you are never prepared to see how bad it is until you go in and earlier, I went in and looked and then came out and just cried in the driveway like an idiot. You know, nothing you can do," Clem said.
The furniture still had water in the cup holders from the height of the flood.
Clem says it's devastating, but all that really matters is they are okay. She says her mom hasn't seen the house yet.
"I mean we picked every brick out, everything when we built the house and it’s one thing to hear someone say how bad it is but it’s a whole different thing when you go in and see it," Clem said.
Not every person in the River Valley has flood insurance and many homeowners say they are expecting it to be months or even a year before they can live inside their homes again.