Cleanup Continues in Kalkaska from Weekend Flooding

"I know my crews were really busy and they were working around the clock all weekend." - Scott Thomas, Paul Davis Restoration

Heavy weekend rains and flooding have kept clean-up crews busy for days – and it’s not slowing down yet. Kalkaska Library Ext

Saturday morning brought heavy rains and even a flash flood warning in the Grand Traverse area.  Water found its way into the basement of the Kalkaska Public Library. Scott Thomas with Paul Davis Restoration in Traverse City says, “When someone gets a flood like that that, you know, they usually want service right away. And as soon as we get to them, we do. We disperse crews right away if we can.”

Clean-up companies across the region have been on call 24/7 for removing the water and doing flood damage clean up. “We try to get as much water out of the place as possible. Sometimes there’s water extraction involved and you get as much water as you can and it takes dehumidifier equipment for sure.”

Keith Kinsey is with SERVPRO of the Grand Traverse Area. “A lot of times it’s unfinished basements or crawlspaces. So then it’s much simpler. When it’s going in the finished basements then it can be a lot more complex. And have building materials that are damaged, wet drywall, wet insulation.”

Kalkaska Library FloodIt’s hard to keep up with the backlog of waterlogged homes and businesses. Thomas says, “There were some people that needed help over the weekend that we couldn’t help, just because we were already backed up on commercial losses and some residentials. And we can only do so much with the staff we have.”

“The quicker it can be cleaned up and water removed, the less chances for any secondary damage to occur,” Kinsey adds.

Thomas says his team will respond to a call for assistance and survey the problem right away. “When they go to a loss they’ve really got to do an evaluation, walk around and take a look at everything. And then go over with the customer and what needs to be dry and how they’re going to do it. What needs to be taken out and what needs to be disposed of that’s not worth trying to salvage.”Flood Cleanup

Crews are taking books off the shelves in Kalkaska – and even some of the artwork has to be picked up for this cleanup effort.  But fortunately the library staff was here on Saturday when the worst of the rain started. They were able to call for help right away and the crews were able to respond relatively quickly. Thomas says, “Usually we try to dry within 3 to 5 days and get it completely dry so we don’t have any mold issues.” Fortunately water didn’t reach the books – even the carpet and toys in the kids and teens sections were saved. But Thomas says, “Every single loss is different.”

The pros say this is not something you should try to tackle on your own. “It’s important to do it properly or you possibly could have, even though you think you have it done correctly, you dry it out and it looks good. And then months down the road when it warms up or something, you start smelling something. You might have mold behind the wall or you might have it under your hardwood, you just never know where it is ‘cause you didn’t dry it properly,” Thomas says.

Kalkaska LibraryKinsey adds, “They can always call us to do an inspection as well. We check it out with our moisture meters because … it’s the water that you don’t see that causes the problems.” And for most people – a flood damage event is pretty rare. “It’s unfortunate. People have no problems for 20 or 30 years and it’s the same story I’ve given every time, is I have never had a problem before and now it’s getting in somehow.”

But even days later, crews are staying busy and the phones are ringing: as people uncover the damage – or realize they can’t do it alone. Kinsey says the phone calls keep coming. “Yes we’re still getting them. We’re getting them from people that we’re trying to get it taken care of themselves and realize they have more of a problem. And people still finding it. We’ve gotten many of those calls today.”