Fox Lake Residents Face Repairs, Cleanup As Flooding Recedes

CHICAGO (CBS) — Several hundred homes in the village of Fox Lake have flooded because last week’s storms, and after the water goes down on the Fox River and Fox Lake, some homeowners will have more work to do than others to clean up and make repairs.

Al Knasel’s home is closer to Fox Lake than any other house on Atwater Parkway. He said his house has a “flow-through crawl” underneath, to allow water to flow through the crawl space. After a fire several years ago, he rebuilt his house to the required FEMA standards, with all of the living space built above the 500-year flood level.

“In order to get inside the living part of my house, it [flooding] would have to go up three more feet,” he said.

That’s not to say Knasel doesn’t have any issues. He still has to kayak from the dry part of his block to his house. He also has dogs and a cat.

“My cat’s going nuts, because he owns this island. He can’t go anywere. The dogs have no grass anymore to go to the bathroom,” he said.

Meantime, fellow Fox Lake resident Dan Threm had just made the first payment on his new house when it started flooding on Wednesday, after heavy rain began falling Tuesday night.

Threm and his wife had thought it would be a great idea to buy a summer home near the water, and closed on a house in Fox Lake just after Memorial Day.

“Forty-five days altogether we’ve had it,” Threm said. “It was a stress reliever. Ha. Didn’t work out exactly like I thought.”

Now he has about four feet of water in his basement, and two feet in his crawlspace, because his big pump cannot stop the flooding, just slow it down.

“We’re just going to keep fighting it,” he said.

He’s built a four-foot tall perimeter of sandbags around his home.

“You can’t stop the water. You can slow it down,” he said.

Threm stopped short of saying he regrets buying the home, but said “it certainly gets some things swirling in my mind.”

What’s he going to do when the water goes down?

“I think I’m going to buy a lot of beer, and start the cleanup,” he said.

The flooding on Fox Lake and the Fox River began to recede over the weekend, but according to flood prediction charts from the National Weather Service, it might not be until early next week that the river returns to levels below flood stage.

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