Local businesses quickly rent out fans, carpet cleaners after big storm

2013-09-09T15:04:00Z 2013-09-10T17:55:05Z Local businesses quickly rent out fans, carpet cleaners after big stormBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette
September 09, 2013 3:04 pm  • 

In the aftermath of Saturday’s storms many Billings companies have been working overtime to help homeowners get back to normal.

“It all hit Sunday morning,” said Cody Pellissier, co-owner of Total Rental.

By close of business, they were completely cleaned out.

“Our carpet cleaners are gone, all of our skid steers, all of our chain saws and all of our pumps are gone too,” he said.

After quickly renting out their entire inventory of fans, the business tried to acquire some from several suppliers who also were sold out.

“There are not enough fans in the city of Billings to get everyone’s carpets dry,” he said.

Hands full

Disaster relief companies have had their hands full mucking out basements and drying up houses.

Erin Marr, office manager at Americlean, a disaster restoration service in Billings, said that just as soon as the rain stopped the calls began.

“The calls started coming in about 8 o’clock and they didn’t stop until — they still haven’t stopped,” she said.

“I would say that we’ve had between 35 and 40 calls specifically for flooding.”

When flooding occurs, time is of the essence.

Dave Mumford, city director of public works, said the cleanup effort has been nonstop since the rain let up.

“We had street maintenance crews come in Saturday night and they have been working ever since getting mud and debris cleared off the streets,” he says.

Jim Pearson, owner of Americlean, said homes and businesses that were flooded need to respond quickly.

“The main thing that we are concerned about is that people won’t get to it fast enough,” Pearson said. “If people don’t get their homes dry quickly, mold can grow in as little as a few days.”

Flood damage

Repairing water damage can get expensive quickly and flood damage is not covered by basic homeowner insurance.

Flood insurance coverage can cost an additional 50 or 60 percent on a typical policy, said Ed Melcher, owner of Frontier Insurance Solutions.

“Most of the clients who we sit down and talk to don’t believe it is going to happen to them,” he said.

All flood insurance is managed by the federal government, and it is sold through private insurance agents.

“We’ve had lots of claims,” Melcher said. “I have probably had close to 60 claims so far and as people start looking around their property I expect to see more.”

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