CHOCTAW — Even though they are ready to move on, Gary and Rhonda Buford still stood and watched as the long arm of an excavator tore through the roof of their dream home Wednesday.
Piece by piece, their home along the North Canadian River was broken down and hauled away in large piles.
“It was like a part of me being torn down,” Gary Buford said. “We put a lot of work into that.”
Rhonda Buford said that when she woke up on the morning of June 1 she realized floodwaters were endangering her property.
The shoreline of the river, which used to be 200 feet from the couple's house, was now in their backyard.
The river devoured chunks of land, swallowing up two outbuildings behind their home and the smaller house their adult son lived in.
By June 6, they were forced from their home as erosion continued to eat away at the land under it, leaving the house teetering on the edge.
“We had our own island,” Rhonda Buford said. “The river was just taking huge chunks out at a time.”
The Bufords turned to their insurance companies for help while living in a rent home in Midwest City. The couple had home insurance through North Star Mutual Insurance and flood insurance with Farmers Insurance.
But Rhonda Buford said both companies denied the claims because their property was destroyed by erosion.
The Bufords said they were hiring a lawyer to continue their fight, but in the meantime they plan on moving on with their lives.
“We had planned on retiring in two years but now that's probably not going to happen,” Rhonda Buford said. “We are thankful for the lives we have, we both work and we are both healthy.
“This is real hard to watch. This was going to be our home, this was going to be our forever home.”