The storm, however, touched other sensitive areas of town, among them Beaver Street, home to several apartment units as well as the fire department. A year after the flood, and after months of intense investment and building, these structures have managed to bounce back.
Bob and Adam Grinold, who own rental properties on Beaver Street, have been working intensely for a year now to make their buildings livable again.
A building at 21 Beaver Street, owned by Bob Grinold, sustained heavy flooding during the storm. Beaver Street’s close proximity to a creek running behind it, as well as its lower geographic setting, made it especially vulnerable during the storm.
“The large white building behind the library had just a little damage,” says Bob Grinold, “but the other two got clobbered.”
At 21 Beaver, the basement filled with water, and the first floor was submerged under five feet. Just before the flood, Adam went into the basement to pull out the boiler. He entered ankle-deep water and emerged with the water rising up to his waist.
“We gutted the first floor, put in new sheet rock, scrubbed the wood with Dawn dish detergent, and sprayed it with chemicals so the mold wouldn’t come back,” says Bob Grinold.
The Grinolds weren’t without help, however. Much like in the rest of Wilmington, volunteers descended upon the property to offer cleanup assistance. “Quite a bit of sweat was involved,” remembers Adam Grinold.
Kelly Pawlak, general manager of Mount Snow, arrived with several volunteers to help the Grinolds. And Nicki Steel, who organized the volunteer efforts after the storm, deployed a team of people to help with cleanup.
“It’s an incredible feeling when people come to help out,” remembers Bob Grinold.
The Grinolds hoped to have their 24 tenants housed before Christmas arrived, and by the time it did, seven apartments and three buildings were ready to be lived in once again. The buildings are now fully inhabitable, with the final repairs finished up only a few months ago.
The Wilmington Fire Department, also located on Beaver Street, sustained heavy damage as well. The building was flooded with four feet of water, which “destroyed everything but the trucks,” says Fire Chief Ken March. “We lost just about everything. Gear, tools, everything in the office, all the training materials.”
Although the building was heavily damaged, the fire trucks still needed to be housed there, and so some of the first repairs were to the garage doors. “You can’t put trucks just anywhere,” says March.
Repairs to the firehouse were entirely paid for by insurance, and local contractors worked fast to get the building back in working order. By the time winter arrived, most of the repairs had been done, but replacing the building’s generators and computers took longer.
“It’s strange working in a building with no walls and only some electricity,” says March. “Now we’re just rolling the dice that we don’t get flooded again. But we know it’s going to happen eventually.”