‘I feel pretty darn lucky’: Houghton area man loses home, still grateful

Posted at 7:37 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 19:38:12-04

HOUGHTON COUNTY, Mich. --  When Nick Meneguzzo isn't running his grocery store, he's fighting fires. The Lake Linden assistant fire chief was one of the first to respond during Sunday's historic flash flooding.

"This damage up here is pretty substantial," Meneguzzo said.

He added, "[Flood water] just took everything in its path."

About seven inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service, caused the road behind his store to washout. The water turned the path into a river that day.

Meneguzzo recalled, "We were coming down checking houses hollering out for people, and [Kevin Lacasse] hollered out from the upstairs window here."

Kevin Lacasse lives on the other side of the washed out road and said he was trapped upstairs with his family. Caught in the path of catastrophe, Lacasse said his family gathered as many items with sentimental value as they could before hurrying upstairs.

Lacasse said he'd been making significant improvements and major upgrades on the place he's called home for nearly 20 years. But then came the storm.

He recalled, "And then I looked up. It was just like a lake and coming right at me. It wasn't sitting still. It was rolling."

Lacasse said Meneguzzo and other firefighters rescued them from the top floor. He said he lost his home to flood damage, but he didn't lose perspective. The 61-year-old longtime Upper Peninsula resident counts himself as one of the fortunate ones.

"My wife... she's just so broke up after all we did here," he said.

He recalled telling her, 'Ma, we're all safe.'

"I feel pretty darn lucky. All this stuff can be replaced," Lacasse said.

He said bonds within this small community are now stronger than ever.

"It's unbelievable, unbelievable how this community came together after something like this," Lacasse said.

He added, "[It's a] small town, everybody knows everybody, and there's divides here and there. All those divides closed yesterday. None of that even existed. Everybody just came to the rescue."

Lacasse said he's got another property to move to close by. He bought it for his mother years ago.