Red Lodge cook recounts harrowing escape through basement window

RED LODGE — Normally finding your car in a huge sinkhole would be the worst part of your day, but for Taylor Monfort-Eaton on Monday, it was a joy to be alive after nearly being trapped in his basement apartment of Red Lodge as flood waters rushed in.

“I walked out into the living room and that’s when I realized how serious the situation was,” Monfort-Eaton said Friday.

The streets completely flooded by Rock Creek weren’t what Monfort-Eaton expected when he left New York for a job at Prerogative Kitchen, one of Red Lodge’s most popular spots. The basement apartment less than three blocks away seemed perfect for his first life alone, until he woke up around 4:30 a.m. Monday.

CASEY CONLON / MTN News

Taylor Monfort-Eaton moved into the basement apartment at 218 Platt Ave. S at Red Lodge in May 2022, his first time visiting Montana.

“I woke up, put my feet up and the water was up to my calves,” he said.

He entered the living room and saw water coming from the hallway. But once he opened that door, he ran into an avalanche.

“I tried to get in the front door, but the water was coming in so hard I couldn’t unlock the lock,” he said, “and that’s when I lost my absolute mind. ‘Oh my god, I’m dead, it’s over. And then all of a sudden, it was an eerie calm, and I realized, ‘I’m not going to die today .'”

Monfort-Eaton returned to his apartment and looked out his living room exit window.

“One of the windows was cracked and water was starting to leak in,” he said. “I took a shoe out from under the water, put it on, gave it 3-4 solid kicks and the water started flowing.”

Once he pushed the screen away, he removed the glass-filled shoe and stepped out of a gap barely large enough to pass safely.

Red Lodge Sink Hole

CASEY CONLON / MTN News

Floodwaters from Rock Creek have opened a large sinkhole in front of 218 Platt Ave. S. to Red Lodge who swallowed Taylor Monfort-Eaton’s car.

His upstairs neighbors cleaned the cuts on his arms and took him to the fairgrounds to get some dry clothes. Once the sun came up, he saw what had happened to his car – the icing on the cake.

Over the next four days, he found reasons to smile.

“The shoe ended up in my kitchen cupboard,” he said with a laugh. “The water took it there, and that’s where we found it. I didn’t move it because I think it’s so funny.”

Taylor Monfort-Eaton Shoe

CASEY CONLON / MTN News

Taylor Monfort-Eaton points to the shoe he used to smash through a basement drain window that flood waters deposited in a kitchen cabinet.

But her biggest victory came from the people around her, helping her every step of the way.

“These people have given me everything for the past 48 hours. I have accommodation. I have clothes. I have food,” he said. “What kind of person are you if you receive all of this and don’t feel the need to give back? »

You won’t find any of these people in his city right now.