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Military family about to watch their dream home fall into the Nisqually River

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Photo: KOMO News

YELM, Wash. -- A military family is about to watch their dream home fall into the Nisqually River near Yelm.

The Carr family says recent storms and dam releases have combined to send the river right up to their house. Thurston County wants to take the house down before it falls into the water.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. "We had a long pathway and about 100 feet of land," said Heather Carr as she stood at the bank's edge a few feet from the front door.

The family of four was supposed to live here for a good long time. After all, the Nisqually River was a good long distance away.

But Carr says increased releases from the upstream dam in the last two months has caused the river to change its course and it is now knocking on their door.

"Hopeless," she said as she looked out at the water. "Absolutely hopeless."

She said the final nail was hammered Tuesday morning -- it was a red tag from the county.

No one is allowed in the house. It could go at any moment.

"Because if you lost another 5-6 feet it could take the deck and a portion of the house," said Thurston County plans examiner Tim Rubert. "If somebody was in it they could die."

The Carr family moved out weeks ago and is staying with friends. But the house is still theirs and they continue to pay the mortgage.

As the river bank gives way, the money bank is still very much involved -- holding the Carrs responsible for the home.

Heather said they, "have the fear with 'What if we're going to be stuck with not only the mortgage, but the bill for it falling in the river, if it doesn't get cleaned up?' "

Thurston County says it is working to secure a Department of Ecology emergency grant to take down the home.

"We're working on some ways to compensate whoever the owner ends up being," said Andrew Kinney, emergency manager coordinator. "But that's not in place yet. So right now it's 'how do we keep the debris out of the river?' "

National Guardsman Johnny Carr helped at the Oso landslide and Eastern Washington fires and has witnessed devastation. Now that tragic situation is visiting his home.

"It's a dream that we just have to close the book on," Heather Carr said. "It's heartbreaking."

A GoFundMe site has been set up to help the Carrs with mortgage payments. But soon those payments will be going to a home that's no longer there.

The Carrs say there's hope the bank will forgive the loan, but there's no word on that yet.

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