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Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

Flooding affects businesses

Friday, April 18, 2008

Jody Shackelford

Staff Writer

Area businesses found themselves fighting waves of water instead of customers April 10 as floodwater filled their stores.

"I knew that the creek in the back was rising and rising so we kept watching it," said Amber Jenkins of White Oak Station in Salem.

"All the sudden, the river came rushing from the front. I didn't know what to do. I was like 'Oh my gosh.' I wanted to get something to block the door but it was coming in too fast," Jenkins said.

Jenkins watched helplessly as the raging waters began to rise around her feet.

"We just had to let it come through. There was nothing we could do. We just had to turn the power off and everything off for the safety of the employees," she said.

According to Jenkins the water was several inches deep before it began to recede. "With the back doors open it finally started to go out," she said.

Jenkins said the cleanup took all night long but they wanted to make sure it was open and ready to serve customers the next morning.

With Salem being pounded by heavy rain from end to end, White Oak Station wasn't the only business feeling the effects.

"Water has gotten up around the building before, but we didn't think it would be coming in from the back wall and the side wall," said Laneesa Langston store manager for Dollar General in Salem.

"It was raining, we looked out and everything was fine. Next thing we knew water was coming in underneath the wall. It was somewhere between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.," she said.

Panic, that was Langston's first thought as the floodwater filled the floor, she said. "I thought please don't let my merchandise get ruined."

Langston said water stopped coming into the store after the rain stopped and it took eight hours to clean up the water. No merchandise was damaged.

Across the creek from the station and across town from the Dollar General, Leslie Drugs also prepared for the worst.

"It never did get into the building. When it got up to the back door we started getting pretty nervous," Tim Leslie, owner said.

"When they designed this building they must have shot a pretty good grade on it because the water ran around it. The water was all around the building but it did not come inside," he said.

Not knowing how high the water would get, Leslie brought in sandbags in case he had to defend his store from the rising water.

"The water was about two inches from the door when we put the sandbags down. From the time we started putting the sandbags down the water had receded about three or four inches down the wall," he said.

"We were pretty fortunate. It was higher this time than it was in 1982 when we had all the flood waters; it was probably up three or four inches higher," Leslie said.

Businesses near the square sitting close to the town branch also received massive flood damage. Although some businesses just needed a mop and elbow grease, many homes, trailers and other area businesses were not so lucky.

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