10 years later: Lake Delton family rebuilds after historic flood left them homeless

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 19:42:06-04

A decade after historic flooding destroyed five homes and swept away a portion of a highway in Lake Delton, a family that lost everything thinks the trying times made them stronger. 

Tim Fromm and his family were featured across local and national media after floodwaters swept up their home and carried it into the Wisconsin River. 

On June 9, 2008, the level of manmade Lake Delton rose so high it caused the sandy soil along the Eastern edge of the body of water to give way, draining the entire lake into the river. 

According to Wisconsin Emergency Management, 31 counties were impacted by flooding in the Sumer of 2008. 

The ground had been saturated by flooding the previous year combined with record-breaking snowfall during the winter months. 

"When heavy rains began on June 5, there was soon widespread flooding because there was no place for the water to go," Wisconsin Emergency Management said in a news release. 

The spot where the Fromm house stood in 2008 is now totally underwater. On Thursday, Tim Fromm drove a TODAY'S TMJ4 crew out there on his boat. 

"It's still weird to say, 'I used to live here,'" Fromm said. 

The family jokingly calls the location Fromm Bay.

Fromm said he still remembers the 2008 flood vividly. 

The day before Lake Delton emptied out, he spent hours piling sandbags up to try and protect his property. 

At the time, Fromm never thought he would lose the home. He expected flood waters might impact its lowest level. 

"Never in a million years did we have any idea we would lose our home into the river," Fromm said. 

The family's insurance policy didn't cover any of the loss. 

However, Fromm said the State of Wisconsin compensated his family for their land and a portion of their house's value. 

"We weren't fully compensated for our losses, but the compensation we received was fantastic," he said. 

In the days and weeks following the flood, images of the Fromm house falling into the lake were played over and over again on network newscasts. The family appeared Live on NBC's The Today Show. 

"To this day, it's still hard to believe that was us," Fromm said. 

At the time, Tim's wife Liz said she opted to not watch the house fall into the water. 

In the 10 years that followed, the couple successfully built up and sold a small business, in addition to starting up a real estate venture and purchasing a new home on Lake Delton. 

Liz said the startling images of their old house falling into Lake Delton now elicit a different response from her. 

"It's a totally different meaning for me now," Liz Fromm said. "It's where we've come from. It gives me strength." 

"We're stronger because of that," she added.