The Herald Bulletin

April 24, 2013

Elwood residents in midst of clearing away flood debris, making repairs

Homeland Security still assessing areas

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

ELWOOD, Ind. — Surrounded by floodwaters as he tried to make his way into work Friday morning, Adam Anderson knew his car detailing business was going to be in trouble. When he walked in, he found important tax forms floating in about a foot of water; a sickening feeling overtaking him.

“It was absolutely devastating,” he said. “I saw that and my heart just dropped.”

Professional equipment, important documents, irreplaceable personal items: destroyed.

Purchased in 2011, Anderson Street Concepts, located at 1504 North B St., sustained “heavy, heavy damage” — over $50,000 worth, Anderson said. And he doesn’t have any flood insurance. A flash flood is “not something you plan for,” he added.

But, he will recover.

“I don’t have time to sit around and hang my head and cry about it and be depressed about it,” he said. “I’ve just got to get it (the cleanup) done.”

With family and friends who have “put their lives on hold to help” at his side, Anderson has worked nonstop to clean the flood damage.

He’s one of many working to recover after a spring storm dumped about 6 inches of rain on Elwood in less than 36 hours Thursday and Friday.

Actually, city spokesman Jeff Howe said Elwood has a list of about 75 individuals and businesses who were affected, “to varying degrees,” by flooding.

The good news is “everybody is back in their homes” and the city is now in the cleanup and evaluation stage, Howe said Wednesday.

The Madison County Emergency Management Agency and the state Department of Homeland Security went door-to-door to assess damages Tuesday and will meet with city entities Thursday to “better gauge” damage costs, he added.

Indiana Homeland Security is still assessing affected areas, but if the state as a whole has enough damage, the governor could make a major disaster declaration, EMA spokesman Todd Harmeson said.

Elwood’s Street Department saw a steady stream of people bring in damaged items to toss from carpets to furniture to hot water heaters over the weekend and early this week.

Street Commissioner Jim Robertson said it’s finally slowed down, but the department has already disposed of four large trash containers full of materials. The electronics bin was completely full of items such as TVs and computers Wednesday.

An Elwood police officer for 32 years before taking a post at the Street Department, Robertson said he’s never seen worse flooding.

“There were areas in Elwood I saw flood I’ve never seen flood before.”

Water settled in a nearly 3-square-mile area of downtown Elwood on Friday — mostly in the northeast quadrant — and forced authorities to evacuate residents.

In Elwood’s case, Harmeson said, there really was no time to prepare.

Anderson later watched security footage from his business and said the floodwaters appeared in less than an hour.

He hopes to get his business back up and running by May 1.

With some still trying to figure out what to do in Elwood and others in places like Tipton County having lost everything, Anderson said he’s lucky the damage to his business wasn’t worse.

Find Dani Palmer on Facebook and @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.