CHOCTAW — The North Canadian River finally swallowed one of the houses on the property of Gary and Rhonda Buford. Meanwhile, the remaining house sits precariously on the river's edge.
The couple said Wednesday they continue to fight with their home and flood insurers to have someone cover their losses, but both companies claim the damage isn't covered.
The Bufords and their adult son were forced from their property June 6 after flooding caused the river to change course. The couple awoke to find the river's edge — once about 200 feet from their house — was in their backyard.
The river chewed away large chunks of land and swallowed a couple of outbuildings behind the houses. The side-by-side houses were deemed unsafe to stay in, and the Bufords moved to a rent home in Midwest City.
The Bufords' grown son lived in the smaller of the two houses, which finally fell into the river Sunday, Gary Buford said. The larger house could fall in any day.
Although the Bufords had both homeowners' insurance and flood insurance, they have been fighting to get at least one of their insurers to cover the damage. The two insurance companies have pointed fingers at each other, leaving the Bufords to pay a mortgage on property they can't live on while also paying rent on their current home.
“I don't know where we are going to go,” Gary Buford said. “We are just in limbo. I'm pretty disgusted. It just seems like it's always ‘wait a little longer.' I'm just getting really tired of waiting. It's time for something to happen.”
The Bufords thought they'd been given a three-month forbearance by their mortgage holder, Bank of America. But Gary Buford said he got a notice this week that the company had turned them over to a collection agency.
“I'd like to tell them to come and get the house,” Buford said.
The couple have been getting some help from U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, whose staff has tried to coordinate meetings between the Bufords and the various companies involved.
Gary Buford said he's not a litigious man, but he expects he will have to get a lawyer and take legal action if he is going to get any relief.
“It aggravates me,” Buford said. “I believe you should stand by your word.”