Businesses respond to flooding, water damage from weekend storms in Washtenaw County
When Gary Awad received his first call at 7:15 a.m. Sunday, he knew the previous night’s rain might have impacted the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. When he took the second call 30 minutes later, he knew his weekend was over.
The owner of Maize and Blue Carpet and Furniture Cleaning in Ypsilanti, Awad called in two employees Sunday and got to work cleaning up and drying wet basement carpeting.
By the end of Monday, he had fielded 15 service calls and serviced more than a dozen homes. And the calls were still coming in.
“There’s also a group of people who don’t go into their basements every day who are just now finding water,” he said Monday afternoon.
Severe storms that started Saturday night caused extensive damage across Southeast Michigan and Northern Ohio, where 5 people were killed after tornados tore through communities.
And in Dundee, south of Ann Arbor, residents and officials united to clean up damage from a tornado that damaged Cabela's, Splash Universe and several other businesses and homes.
Locally, while the weekend’s storm sent residents scurrying for cover Saturday night, Sunday and Monday saw local businesses responding, from carpet cleaners to insurance companies.
Coaches Catastrophe Cleaning in Ypsilanti took some 275 calls, mostly from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti homeowners, said Dick Valentine, marketing manager for the company.
The first call came at 11 a.m. Sunday and the phone didn’t stop ringing. Even the University of Michigan needed help. There were 10 to 12 jobs on campus that resulted from water damage, Valentine said, including classrooms, a small gymnasium and the Buhr Building.
While Ypsilanti houses were hit more with backed-up sewers, Ann Arbor residences were more likely victim of storm water, Valentine said.
“The ground water ran across their yards and went into their basements," he said.
Even for pros, unfinished basements without drywall and carpet are easiest to clean and dry, while finished basements pose more challenges.
“If the drywall and carpeting and pad and drop ceiling get wet, it can be pretty devastating,” Valentine said.
Water levels varied from a inch to nearly 10 inches. Cleanup costs from the weekend storm have varied from $1,500 to $6,000, and many homeowners have not been covered by insurance, Valentine said.
If carpet isn’t cleaned and dried within 36 hours, it’s likely ruined for good, Valentine added.
While Coaches saw basement flooding distributed around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Awad said most of his calls came from the East Stadium Boulevard/West Washtenaw Avenue area, then west on Scio Church Road to the Chaucer Drive area.
The damage wasn't limited to carpet and furniture. Nothing could save the paintings located on the basement floor of one Ann Arbor woman’s house, Awad said. “From the bottom up, the water wicked up the canvas.”
Local insurance companies also reported a flurry of phone messages and calls when they got to work Monday morning from homeowners who sustained damage, including flooded basements and damaged roofs.
A storm with heavy rain can do what no amount of advertising can’t, said Fritz Bocks, general manager of the Insta-Dry Basement System, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company that serves the Ann Arbor area.
The Romulus-based company got its first customer email at 2 a.m. Sunday, while phone calls came in starting at 8 a.m. By the end of the day, 30 customers were seeking bids on foundation work.
“Rain is the biggest thing that generates interest. It gets people thinking," Bocks said. "We sell to pain, the pain of having water in the basement.”