Thursday, April 18, 2019
Leon resident Jordan Kerska points to the level floodwaters reached on his house during last week's storm, before a rescue boat came to get him. Also pictured are his pole shed and garage, which also suffered significant damage. Herald photo by Pat Mulvaney

Leon man spends harrowing moments in flood before rescue

Tuesday, August 28 is a date Jordan Kerska will never forget.

The 27-year-old Leon resident spent a few harrowing moments that day as flood waters from over 10 inches of rain swept into his house before an emergency crew from Ft. McCoy rescued him.

Kerska recalled that the situation developed quickly. His roommate left for work at 5 a.m. and there was no water around the house at that time.

Kerska, whose alarm clock was set for 6 a.m., was awakened by his roommate's kayaks banging up against the house, which sits just up from the Little La Crosse River.

He looked outside and couldn't believe what he was seeing. In a matter of 30 to 40 minutes it went from dry to six feet of water. His uncle's truck, which was sitting in his front yard, was nearly submerged, and the swiftly-moving floodwater was coming into his house.

Then he felt the house lift up and list to one side as the water forced it off of its foundation.

"It was at that point I called 911," said Kerska. "It was the first time I've ever called 911 in my life because it was that scary."

The water was so deep that the rescue boat that came for him hit a submerged car and got stuck for a bit before making it to the house, where Kerska jumped from his bedroom window into the boat.

"It takes a lot to get me a little rattled and that did it," he said. "I had never experienced anything like that in my life and I hope to never do it again."

Kerska spoke to his insurance adjuster last Friday and learned that damage to his place will exceed his $60,000 policy, which didn't cover the contents of the house.

His truck was totaled in the floodwaters but his vehicle insurance should cover that.

He's hoping to salvage some items from his garage and pole shed but the floodwater swept away a lot of things, including a few lawn mowers, a lean-to and his front porch.

Once the water receded, the cleanup began and the community rallied.

"There are people roaming around helping each other out whenever they can," he said.

Kerska helped his neighbors while he waited for the insurance adjuster to show up at his house so he could begin his cleaning tasks. On Friday, neighbors were busy helping him.

The Cotter Pin, supplied a big dumpster for everyone's use. Kerska said the restaurant fed the emergency crews and let people displaced by the flood stay there.

As for Kerska, he's staying with his parents in Sparta, while he decides what he's going to do. He bought his home last November and one of the selling points for him was that it survived last year's July flooding with minimal damage.

"Up until that point, everyone I've heard said that was the worst they'd ever seen," said Kerska."If something like (last week's flood) would have happened, I would have never bought this property -- not in a million years."

Even so, it sounds like he might be leaning toward rebuilding, although he'd bring a lot of fill in to raise his next house.

"I'd like to stay here. It's the first property I've ever owned so I've kind of gotten attached to it."


Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
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