Dells area sports bar owners aim to reopen soon after flooding

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DELL PRAIRIE (WKOW) — An Adams County family had to close their bar-restaurant near Wisconsin Dells after floodwaters tore through a highway and into their home.

The Thompsons house is attached to Fur, Fin & Feather on County Highway B. They woke up early Thursday morning as water flowed into and completely filled their basement.

“Woke up to the sound of an ocean, looked out and saw the water flowing heavy down the road,” said owner Jenna Thompson.

The flooding destroyed everything in the basement, including their memories and their water heater, so they can’t even stay in their apartment right now.

“I stood at the top of the stairs and bawled like a baby, watching everything just float right up to you. Everything. Washing machine, dryer, furnace, hot water heaters,” she said.

The family slept in the attached bar for a few nights, until they were able to move into an upstairs apartment in the same building. That building is so damaged, they can’t reopen the bar until the foundation is repaired.

This isn’t the first time the weather has dealt them a bad hand.

“A tornado came through and completely wiped us out, our building was completely done,” she said. “We had to redo everything inside.”

The family had to shut Fur, Fin & Feather down for almost three months after a tornado last August knocked a tree down on the side of the building.

Now, five months later, the Thompsons are fighting their insurance company over more costs related to extreme weather. They don’t have flood insurance.

“You wouldn’t think about it. There’s no body of water around here. You never think that you’re going to get flooded out by snow, you wouldn’t think eight feet of water is going to come in your basement because of snow,” Thompson said.

This was the only business in the county dealing with flood problems, but Emergency Management Director Jane Gervais tells 27 News she’s taken about two dozen reports of flood damage in homes.

“We have residences affected throughout the entire county with water in their basements, so we’re dealing with that right now,” she said.

Plus, nearly every county highway is impacted by flooding, from shoulder washouts like on County B and a massive washout across the entire roadway on County J. The damage costs far surpass the threshold for Adams County of about $80,000, to submit a claim to FEMA.

Gervais says the flood damage to county roads is worse than what they saw last summer, when the county got federal assistance.

Adams County highway officials tell 27 News the road outside Fur, Fin & Feather is severely compromised. Crews will have to build the road base back up after six to eight feet of it washed away under the asphalt. They can resurface it because asphalt is not available at this time of year. It will likely be about a month before it’s fully restored.

Meanwhile, the Thompsons are working as fast as they can to reopen in time for tournaments scheduled in April. And they’re keeping a positive attitude about the damage.

“We’re not giving up. No reason to give up,” Thompson said. “We’ll open her back up and hopefully this will be the end of our bad luck.”

The family hopes to reopen Fur, Fin & Feather in early April. They’ve been posting updates on Facebook.

Jennifer Kliese

Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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