Flood cleanup continues

Published 10:33 am Friday, October 1, 2010


ORONOCO — A sudden fall flood’s damage to this town of 1,000 wasn’t as extensive as in nearby Zumbro Falls and Hammond, but it doesn’t hurt any less for the people who lost their homes.

Jason Heitman, 34, told the Post-Bulletin of Rochester he had spent five months remodeling his mobile home before the Zumbro River ripped it from its foundation. “Everything I have is a total loss,” Heitman said.

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Heitman said he didn’t know what he would do next. He doesn’t have flood insurance and injuries from a recent car accident have kept him from working. But that’s not the worst of it, he said.

“It’s not so much the material things (you miss),” he said. “It’s the little things you carry with you through your life.”

His neighbor, Nick Taylor, was able to grab only a few trophies and deer heads before water invaded his home. “I have no idea what I’m going to do,” Taylor said.

Oronoco Mayor Scott Keigley estimated that last week’s floods destroyed seven homes in the city, but he expects that number to climb. Individuals with private wells are being advised to treat their water, even before test results come back.

The state has set up a hot line for Minnesotans who want to donate supplies or offer help to those hurt by the floods. To offer help, call the United Way 24-hour statewide community resource number at 211 or 1-800-543-7709.

Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Kris Eide said that makes it easier to get donations to those who need them. She said when well-meaning people drop off donations, it can create duplication of effort and confusion.

Minnesotans also can go online to www.uwolmsted.org for a listing of volunteer needs.