Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 20, 2014

Kokomo resident whose basement collapsed during flood repairs own home

Walter Raderstorf can still remember sitting in his living room inside his home on West Park Avenue, realizing he had escaped a brush with death.

“I was in the basement carrying stuff up and I came in here and sat down,” he said. “It wasn’t 30 seconds and that wall [collapsed]. If I had been down there, I probably wouldn’t be here. I would have either been electrocuted or drowned down there.”

Water had been flowing into Raderstorf's basement for hours as floodwaters rose April 19, 2013. The eastern foundation wall in the basement was knocked out by the water that overflowed Wildcat Creek just a couple hundred feet away.

After state and federal officials determined Raderstorf's home should be condemned, he thought otherwise.

In the weeks that followed, damage estimates came in at $50,000, but the house was only insured for $40,000. Raderstorf, 73, received a $14,000 Small Business Association loan, but estimates he has spent about $60,000 on repairs over the past year.

After going back and forth with the insurance company to make sure he was covered, Raderstorf determined he would need to get creative to fix up the home he had lived in for the past five years.

“Because I knew how to do all of [the repairs], that’s the reason I did it,” he said. “I don’t think I could have afforded to have someone come here and fix it.”

Raderstorf's home was one of many along Park Avenue that were damaged by the flood. The area experienced some of the worst flooding last April as Wildcat Creek reached a record crest. Raderstorf's neighborhood is changed; many of the homes have been vacated for repairs, many residents have moved on in search of housing not in the floodplain.

Raderstorf, the son of a carpenter, picked up plenty of know-how as an amateur carpenter and repair man over the years. He wasn’t ready to move on.

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