House rasied above potential river flood area |

House rasied above potential river flood area

by Merrie Leininger

When Laurie Therres and her family moved into a home on Fairway Drive near the Carson Valley Golf Course in May 1995, she had no idea what just four years would bring.

Since the flood of January 1997, Therres, her husband Larry Rowe, and their four sons, ages 16, 18, 18 and 20, have been out of their home more than they have been in it.

The house, which gradually declines the further back you walk, had only a few inches of water in the front hall and kitchen, but thigh-level flooding in the back bedrooms.

The whole family, which at that time, included Larry’s sister and her son who had recently been driven out of their home by a fire, had to find temporary housing.

They had to stay out of the house until June, and in July, the damaged drywall was cut out. Since then, the family has been planning on giving their home a boost – raising it 12 feet to keep it above any future high water marks.

“We were going to do it, period. But we were very happy when we found out there was going to be a grant to help pay for it,” she said. “I don’t want to go through that again. Last winter when they were saying it was going to flood again, I panicked, and that’s when I knew we had made the right decision.”

Research she has done since the flood describes the land her house is on as right in a previous path of the Carson River.

“Before the house was here, there was a farmhouse, which also was flooded,” Therres said. “The back yard is really low, so it always stays wet.”

Nevertheless, the family is not only planning on staying there, they are planning on doing renovations to the house while it is all torn out.

“I wouldn’t move from here. I love the house and the lot. It is very peaceful and looks like a park,” Therres said.

She said the years since the flood have been difficult on the whole family and they won’t be back into their home until May.

“It’s not bad now (looking at the gutted house). It was worse to see it muddy and everything ruined. Now it’s like a light at the end of a tunnel – I know it’s only going to get better from now on,” she said.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant and a Community Development Block Grant is paying for about 75 percent of the house raising, and the family has to pay for the rest.

The house will essentially be two stories after the work is complete with enough room under the house to park a car.

The house-raising started Wednesday afternoon. Parts of the house will have to be raised in different ways. The garage and the back bedroom were built on top of cement pads, they don’t have the same wooden floor as the rest of the house. The main part of the house will be raised by 10 hydrologic jacks placed in the crawl space under the house, said Charlie Scott of Scott House Movers, of Sacramento.

The garage and back bedroom have to be raised by cutting holes in the walls and putting long steel beams through both sides of the room. The steel beams are then raised 14 inches at a time by propping the beams up on wooden railroad ties. They just keep adding more ties and pushing the steel beams higher.

That whole process takes about two days. After the whole house is raised, general building contractor Evans Homes, of Gardnerville, comes in and builds new floors onto the two rooms and completes the process by adding 12 feet onto the outside of the house.