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Hardware stores restock as flood cleanup continues

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 3:11 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 19, 2013 11:25 p.m. CDT

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DeKALB – Trixy O'Flaherty experienced a different kind of flood this week.

While most people scrambled to deal with flooding issues caused by the 5-plus inches of rain from Wednesday and Thursday, O'Flaherty was scrambling to keep up with the flood of customers looking to purchase sump pumps, hoses and other hardware.

O'Flaherty, owner of Gordon Hardware & Supply, 514 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, said she sold out of sump pumps Thursday after experiencing four times the average amount of customers.

"People need all kinds of things when it floods," she said. "We haven't had a storm like that for a long time."

Jerry Green, assistant general manager at Menards on Mercantile Drive in Sycamore, said his store also sold out of sump pumps after being surprised by the severity of the flooding. He said personnel acted quickly to order more supplies and items such as dehumidifiers and sump pumps are available again for anyone who still needs equipment.

"It was about 90 percent over our normal daily target," Green said of Thursday sales. "If we had enough [supplies] to meet everyone's needs, it could have been even higher."

Although the rush is over at local hardware stores, many residents will be left to fix damages caused by the flood through the weekend and beyond.

Felecia Collins, who lives near the intersection of Seventh and Harvey streets in DeKalb, used three sump pumps and 10 sandbags to fend off as much of the flooding as she could. She said she has experienced flooding in her basement before, but said it never gets easier despite preparation.

"It's an all-day thing; no work, no school," Collins, a Waubonsee Community College student, said of the cleaning process. "Luckily, we had our stuff in plastic bins."

Not all cleanup efforts happen in the house. Alvina Stover, who lives on Elm Avenue in Cortland, was not surprised to see her yard turn into a lake Friday as river levels crested.

She said a faulty drainage pipe results in major flooding in most rain storms. She expects a stream of debris to be left behind when the water subsides.

"Luckily we have not had water in the house. It's a blessing the sump pump continues to work," Stover said. "But you can't have a patio, you can't have a garden and the grass doesn't grow. There is always so much debris to clean up."

Those looking to hire help in the cleanup process should be wary of scams. Better Business Bureau officials said Thursday there have been reports of businesses looking to exploit the situation and residents should search for BBB accredited contractors at www.bbb.org.

Locally, many closed roads had reopened by Friday afternoon and most of the water was expected to recede today. Dennis Miller, the county coordinator for Emergency Services Disaster Agency, said people in floodplains would likely be relocated until Monday.

As one of 38 counties in Illinois to receive state disaster designation, Miller said he has already utilized state resources including a boat and two conservation officials to help relocate residents at Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park in Sycamore.

He said residents with no other place to stay would likely need to stay at St. John Lutheran Church, 26555 Brickville Road in Sycamore, where The American Red Cross has opened a shelter.

Be cautious hiring contractors

• Be wary of contractors who go door-to-door seeking work.

• Get written estimates from multiple contractors.

• Be aware you have the right to cancel a contract within three business days if you signed it based on a contractor visiting your home.

• Ask to see required state or local permits or licenses. Insurance adjusters and roofers must be licensed by state agencies. If the name on the license doesn't match the name on the contractor's business card or truck, that should raise a red flag.

• Report suspicious activity or check on potential contractors through the Illinois Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Hotline at 800-386-5438.

Source: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

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