Hamiltonians return home for the first time in days to clean up flooding from the Skagit River

Some families in Skagit County are returning home for the first time after severe flooding of the Skagit River.

Hamilton residents spent their Wednesday cleaning up the mess, and many were shocked by the severity of the city’s high water levels.

“I have about six inches of water in the house. So a lot of sand and dirt on the floor because of the water. I have to tear up the drywall to fix the drywall,” said Anthony Annese, while cleaning the debris outside his home.

Annese, known in town as “Taco”, had extra hands on Wednesday to clear out anything that was wet inside her house.

“It’s good to have good friends who will help you and all you can do is hope for the best,” Annese said.

That’s what friends in this town do — just ask US Marine Corps veteran Bert Kerns. FOX 13 News met Kerns on Tuesday at the American Red Cross shelter after receiving help escaping high water on Sunday night.

“A friend of mine named Taco came with about five guys and they pulled out my trailer. And he’s a good guy,” Kerns said.

“He’s committed to this country, you know? We owe him something,” Annese said.

RELATED: High water is slowly receding after flooding from the Skagit River submerges the small town of Hamilton

Berns, like other families, got their first glimpse of the damage to their property on Wednesday.

“There is always someone else who is worse off. Pray for them,” Kerns said.

Several families are still waiting for the waters to recede.

“Our residents are excited and eager to return home. And this is unfortunately something that we cannot do at the moment. We still have a fair amount of water in town, ”said Chief Scott Bates of the Hamilton Fire Department.

The fire chief said Puget Sound Energy had restored most of the power to the town. However, some homes were still waiting for electricity or repairs to their propane tanks.

Carol Lockrem also had water around her property. She moved to Hamilton in June and said it was her first flood as a city resident. She and her family splashed the overflow to save her things.

RELATED: Mount Vernon gets federal help ahead of major flooding along the Skagit River

“And you know what? It’s just stuff. The stuff can be replaced. And at my age I had the whole stuff and apparently I never needed it because I don’t have it anymore.” Lockrem said with a laugh.

Some residents said there were things worth saving and looking for.

“Start cleaning up, rummage. Find my stuff in the yard. I do carpentry, so a bunch of my stuff was floating there and some of it was floating there,” Todd Kohnke said as he prepared to go. clean up debris.

As the townspeople began to recover from the flooding, they also said they found what they needed in each other.

“No neighborhood is perfect, but we have a lot of people helping us and caring about each other. And it’s just a great community of love,” Annese said.

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