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Ruptured beaver dam leaves Valley family with a fine mess | Slideshow
A steady stream of neighbors and spectators flowed past Bob and Suzanne Siko's swamped house Tuesday morning offering to run errands, bring coffee, or help in other ways, and all of the traffic, down and up the Northeast 124th Street hill south of Duvall, had to cut through standing water to get there. They also warily skirted the energetic little stream that was once again flowing near the Siko home, instead of into it.
"The stream would still be going right past my front door right now if we hadn't had all these people come out… we literally put the stream back in it's banks last night," said Bob Siko on Tuesday morning.
Around 11:30 Monday morning, neighbors alerted both Bob, a commercial construction contractor, and Suzanne, a teacher at Hillside Academy in Duvall, that their historic home had been overrun by a flood, reportedly caused by a ruptured beaver dam at a nearby pond. All of the family was away when the flood hit, the parents at work and their four boys at school.
"I had a phone call from a friend of mine, who actually saw the wall of water coming down," Bob said Tuesday.
The wall was estimated at four or five feet high as it crashed down the hillside, inundating the Siko home on the south side of 124th, the barn that is home to their Christmas tree business on the north side of 124th, and, briefly, S.R. 203 before spreading out along the Valley floor. The highway was not closed, but 124th across the valley and part-way up the hill was, from about noon to 2 p.m. Monday.
"Thank God nobody was in my yard," said Bob. "I could have lost my family."
The house might have gone, everyone helping to clean up on Tuesday morning agreed, if the water hadn't pushed a huge pile of debris up to shelter the house and shed from the main impact. A 50-foot long logjam, standing about seven feet high, had formed on the hill above the house, and the silt in the water also seemed to help.
"Our house sandbagged itself," said Suzanne, so the damage inside was minimal. The living room, a bathroom and one bedroom had water inside, and will need new sheetrock, but much of the floor in the old house is uneven, so water naturally flowed into the crawlspace instead of across the floor.
So did the silt, though. "I think it's packed underneath our house," said Suzanne, "so I don't know how we handle that."
The family is staying with friends nearby during the cleanup, and Suzanne was skeptical that they'd be able to get back into their home soon, because of the type of water that got into the living space. Bob was more concerned about the damage and debris in the yard than he was about the house.
"I have a picture of the house in 1904, with my wife's grandfather on the front porch, standing about this high," he said, holding his hand at about three-and-a-half feet high.
The dirt and silt is piled higher than that now, both in the yard, and across the road in the Christmas tree lot. Bob said the family had already ordered the trees for the season, so now he just hoped they could get the area cleaned up in time.
Many friends and neighbors had arrived Monday afternoon and worked till dark to start the clean-up, and by 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, there were another 20 or so steadily at work scraping silt out of the yard and dumping it into waiting dumptrucks. King County staff arrived soon after to assess the stream and clean it out, too.
Suzanne, who'd taken the day off work to document the damage and all the help her family was receiving, said gratefully, "This is really a community story."
The broken shovel (foreground) that isn't moving any rocks, contrasts with the mountain of logs, rocks and dirt in the background that formed a 50-foot-wide barrier around the house, shed, and camper in the path of a sudden flood Monday. A beaver dam burst upstream, inundating property near Duvall and affecting traffic on Highway 203.