Days of pounding rain in the Pikes Peak area have local restoration companies scrambling to find additional workers and mitigation equipment to clean a surging number of flooded homes.
On Friday, Joe Crivello, owner of the AmeriDri restoration company, worked to remove nearly 1.5 inches of water from a basement inside house on North 22nd Street. Crivello said his employees usually work about 35 hours a week; now they are working up to 70, and he has added temporary workers to keep up with demand. He also said he's having difficulty finding enough drying equipment and dehumidifiers to help all the homeowners calling him.
"We have gotten at least 100 calls in the past 30 hours," he said Friday.
Steve Dennison of Flood Damage Restoration said his company received 50 to 60 calls for help during a 10-hour period from Thursday night to Friday morning.
"And they are still coming in," he said.
Most of the damage is being caused by seepage, not a rush of floodwaters like the torrent that caused so much destruction in Manitou Springs recently. Water teeming onto oversaturated soil creeps into basements through concrete walls and microscopic cracks, soaking carpets and pads, drywall and anything on floors, Crivello said. He said another basement he cleaned earlier this week had 4 inches of water, all of which came from seepage.
"We are getting calls from some who have been in their homes 25 years and have not had flooding," said Crivell, who has seen more flooded homes in the past 72 hours than in the 25 years since he started his business.
Cleaning up flooded basements can cost $1,500 to $3,000, and that's just for mitigation. It can cost up to $15,000 or more for repairs and replacement of damaged furniture and other property.
"Homeowners insurance does not cover it, unless a sump pump fails, or it comes through a floor drain, and you can prove it.," Dennison said.
If wet carpets and soaked dry walls are not mitigated quickly, mold spores can grow, which can cause respiratory problems, costing homeowners more in medical bills.
Crivello and Dennison said homeowners should do as much of their own flood mitigation as they can until they can get professional help, though that could prove difficult: The flooding created a run on sump pumps and wet-dry vacuums at hardware and home improvement stores. One woman whose basement flooded said Friday she could only find a sump pump that needs to be submerged, not one that is the floor-level variety.
Still, Crivello and Dennison said, people can remove water-logged carpets and pads out of their homes, or at least pull them away from drywall to help stop wicking. They also said people can put wax paper or aluminum foil under furniture legs to keep wood from absorbing standing water and varnish from dripping onto carpets.
"That (mitigation) can be critical, 'cause you can have mold start to grow in three to four days," Crivello said, "and right now we are booked out a whole week."
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275.