Thousands of homeowners were allowed to return home to the small community of Saint-Marthe-sur-le-Lac Tuesday, days after a dike breach sent water rushing through the Montreal suburb.
For homeowners like Maxime Pimpare, the extent of the damage was overwhelming.
“I lost everything, my insurance doesn’t cover me,” Pimpare told CTV News after entering his home for the first time since the evacuation.
“I don’t know if we can ever come back in this house. I don’t know if it’s going to be strong enough.”
Over the weekend, water from the Lake of Two Mountains breached the local dike and rushed through Saint-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, forcing Pimpare and nearly 6,000 others from their homes. Residents of 1,485 homes that were spared by flooding were cleared to return home Tuesday, but authorities said they will be without running water or electricity indefinitely.
Armed with two pumps and a generator, Pimpare throught he was well-prepared to protect his home from any potential flooding, especially after being spared during the first round of flooding.
“When we [left] the home there was no water in the street, it was all dry -- so we said there’s no emergency,” he said of Saturday night’s evacuation.
Upon returning home Tuesday, Pimpare was shocked to see that water had destroyed the bottom level of his home, seeping under the stairs to the upper level, leaving him with questions about the future of his home.
“I just finished doing everything -- the walls, the floor. I built everything myself last year. It was one of our projects to buy a house, do some little work, and then sell it back, buy a bigger one,” he said.
“It was our first house.”
During a press conference in Quebec City, Premier Francois Legault said the 3.5-kilometre dike was last repaired in 2009. After record flooding in 2017, a private firm determined it needed millions of dollars of additional work to be repaired.
According to Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac Mayor Sonia Paulus, the town had identified the dike as a weak point two years ago and was trying to get provincial funding to reinforce it.
With files from the Canadian Press