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Heavy rains hit city hard

August 26, 2009
BERLIN — Heavy rains flooded streets, washed away manhole covers and damaged property around Berlin on Friday.

Police dispatcher Angela Fortier said it was the busiest hour she'd ever spent at work. There weren't enough officers or phone lines to deal with all the calls.

David Morin, owner of Morin's Shoe Store, said he looked outside around 4 p.m. and it looked like nighttime. Anymore rain and the water would have crested the sidewalks on Main Street, he said. His foundation started to leak and there was minor flooding in the basement, which he had never seen in his 11 years in the building.

Paul Charest, owner of Morning Lane Photography, said he had to cancel afternoon appointments after his roof flooded and the water started pouring in from his ceiling.

"My roof drain couldn't keep up," he said. "Saturday when I came back in it was still dripping."

The floor on first floor buckled and will need to be replaced. He is waiting to find out if some of the ceiling will as well.

"We'll just do more renovations than I had anticipated," he said.

At the Sheridan building there were more problems.

"Water came up from the toilet in large gushes and basically flooded the back room," said Todd Ramsey, an employee at Gill's Flower Shop. "There was enough that things were floating around."

The water started draining though the floor and pouring onto the furnace. The fire department had to come to shut the building's power off.

Mr. Charest said when he called the fire department he was told they would get there when they could.

Many of the problems centered around roof drains. Many people's drains were clogged or weren't draining fast enough.

"Especially on the East Side, that's where we got hit the hardest," said city public works director Michael Perreault. He was away for the weekend, but he was in the process of sizing up the damage.

"Everybody's gravel driveways are in the street," he said.

The storm peeled a piece of road off Mount Forist, caused a landslide near Maple Street, lifted storm drain covers and plugged up the sewer main.

"We were lucky nobody got hurt," he said.

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