SCDOT worker returns to damaged home after Hurricane Matthew

SCDOT worker returns to damaged home after Hurricane Matthew

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Getting through Hurricane Matthew was one thing for the Larrimore family, but what came after not only took them by surprise, it left them with one choice - leave their century-old family home knowing it would likely never be the same.

"I mean, you work all your life to have a house and within 24 hours it's gone," Michael Larrimore said.

Michael Larrimore works for the South Carolina Department of Transportation's Conway office and spent much of the hurricane and subsequent flooding away from a home he's lived in for decades.

That home was passed down from his father, and a home he once went to church in as a kid.

"It was our home. It's not just a house," his wife, Michele Larrimore, said in tears.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials measured the water at 22 inches inside the Larrimore's house.

"Now is when it really hits home," Michael Larrimore said. "The water's gone, everything's, everything's just destroyed."

The entire first floor of the home off of U.S. 378 filled with water, and fast.

In a home that had never seen flooding inside, Michele Larrimore treaded through water that at first was up to her ankles. By the next day, it was at her knees.

"It's something you can't even describe whenever you see, because at that point you really start to realize the house is gone," she said.

Michele Larrimore went through all of this without her husband as he was working 12-hour shifts that were eventually reduced to 10 hours and then went back to regular 8-hour shifts on Wednesday.

"It was hard because I'm trying to be both parents while he's doing his job, doing what he has to do," she said.

The Larrimores have three children and they said the hardest part has been trying to tell their 7-year-old daughter, Alyssa, they can't go home yet.

"Daddy's little girl, she wants to come home," Michael Larrimore said. "She told me the other night that she wanted to come home, but I can't bring her home."

"It's hard when she comes to you and says, 'Mama, I just want to go home. I want to go home and be in my room,'" Michele Larrimore added.

That heartbreaking request comes on top of deciding what to do with their family home and where to live in the meantime.

Like many other families, the Larrimores' home insurance isn't covering the damage and now they must decide whether or not to accept $14,000 in help from FEMA.

Michael Larrimore said that money will also cost them up to $5,000 a year from this point for flood insurance, while much more money will be needed to bring his family back home.

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