Buildings & streets damaged by high water
The flash flood that inundated downtown Berkeley Springs with fast-moving muddy water after a series of severe thunderstorms flooded homes and businesses and damaged several streets.
“We sustained fair amounts of damage to businesses and streets. I was standing in water over my knees,” Mayor Susan Webster said on Sunday morning.
Webster said Pollick’s ice cream stand was devastated.
She went on to describe the damage to some of the other businesses and streets:
“The Country Inn’s kitchen was flooded and had to close down. The bridge to the Inn at Liberty Street is damaged and might be unstable.
“The Ambrae House basement flooded as well as North Berkeley Community Park.
“The four corners at Inde-pendence and Mercer Street were flooded with water flowing into Mi Ranchito and Mike’s Garage.”
Webster said she also heard about damage to Biser and Liberty streets, as well as the mud slide below the Castle.
Tari’s Café was hit especially hard. Ryan Rebant was walking past the restaurant during the storm on his way to check on his business and said water was actually flowing out of the restaurant.
On Sunday, a sign on the door said Tari’s was “closed due to extensive flood damage.”
Owner Oscar Robles of Mi Ranchito said his dining rooms had six inches of water covering the floor on Saturday evening.
Robles said he will have to replace the wood floor in one room and the carpet in another.
The kitchen, which is one step higher than the dining rooms, didn’t receive any water, he said.
Robles mounted plywood panels about two feet high in front of the doors to keep the water out, but cars driving by on Independence Street created waves that washed over the plywood.
“The waves were like in the ocean. If they had stopped the traffic, we wouldn’t have had the damage,” he said.
Robles said he was grateful to the people who came by with brooms and helped sweep out the water. He hopes to reopen in less than a week.
Ryan Rebant of Berkeley Cottage Rentals on Fairfax Street said his business was spared except for wet carpet. Water also got in due to cars driving by and creating waves.
He said the water rose about five feet in 20 minutes.
“Flower pots and people’s signs were floating down the street. They were moving so fast you couldn’t catch them,” Rebant said.
Portals, Sage Moon and Pollick’s Ice Cream stand were closed Sunday due to the flood. Ambrae House had a sign on the door that read, “Closed due to flood – reopen Thursday.”
Barry White, owner of Creekside Creamery, said he left at 4 p.m. but came back at 8 p.m. to clean up water that had seeped in on the tile floor.
The Creamery was open for business on Sunday, as were many other shops downtown that were spared by the torrent. The Farmers Market operated as usual on Fairfax Street.
High water in park
Anthony Lutman, who was helping to clean up the mud from the floors of massage therapist Michael Pushkin’s office, said the water was as high as the stage of the gazebo in Berkeley Springs State Park.
Park Superintendent Chris Hansroth said four feet of water got into the park office.
“It came up so fast it was hard to get everything up. We did manage to save the computers and electronics, but all the furniture is ruined,” Hansroth said.
The main bathhouse that was renovated in 2010 did not flood, but the Old Roman Bathhouse was flooded and all the furniture will have to be replaced, he said.
The bridge from South Washington Street connecting to both the park and The Country Inn lost all its asphalt, Hansroth said.
The swimming pool was flooded but it isn’t a major concern because it closed for the season on Labor Day.
The free water station was closed due to a bad suction valve that should be replaced in a day or two, he said.
Hansroth said many volunteers pitched in to help clean up.
The park was closed for a few days to get things back in shape.
For information about its status, call 304-258-2711.
High school area
South of town, basements flooded in homes on Concord Avenue near Berkeley Springs High School.
Jon Takacs said his parent’s house on Concord Avenue, which is two houses up from the high school, had five feet of water in the basement.
On Sunday, cleanup crews were removing debris from under the footbridges across Warm Springs Run near the high school and at Widmyer Elementary School.