Gary Grunseich opened the door to his Silly Lily Fishing Station main office in East Moriches, NY, and stepped inside,
"Look at this," he said, sadly. "It's just a wreck."
Indeed, it was. Four to five feet of water had rushed through the building during Hurricane Sandy, piling up anything that wasn't tied down - and some things that were - in sopping wet heaps. The building structure was still standing - that in itself was a surprise - but just about everything inside was unsalvageble. Outside the front door, at least 20 black garbage bags filled with debris were piled on top of each other. The clean-up had only just begun but already Grunseich has determined that Silly Lily will reopen next year.
"We took the most important records and stuff out before the storm came," said Grunseich, "the things that we didn't have time or manpower to move we placed as high as we could. Pretty much everything was on shelves 4 or 5 feet off the ground, and still it got washed."
Moving to another building where the Silly Lily crew works on motors and repairs to their rental fleet and private boat patrons, the high water marks along the walls were chest level.
"We had motors under water in here, and I've lost most of my work tools. We put them all five feet off the ground and still the flood got to them. It's just devastating.This is the second 'storm of the century' to strike here in two years - Hurricane Irene hit us pretty good last year. I have a degree in marine biology and I can tell you this, as long as our atmosphere and oceans continue to warm, there are going to be more big storms on the horizon. It's not going to get any easier in the long run."
- Take plenty of pictures. Document everything you can by photograph.
- Don’t throw damaged items away unless authorities advise you must do so. If you do need to dispose of items, be sure to photograph them.
- Make a high-water mark on a wall in each of the rooms that was affected by water. Take photos of this measurement.
- If water height exceeded 1 foot, cut the drywall 1 foot above that watermark to prevent the water from creeping up any further.
- Wet carpet can be removed, but retain a 1-foot x 1-foot section of the carpet and the padding.
- Maintain all receipts if you use a restoration company with the flood clean-up.
- Separate damaged items from undamaged items.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR NY RESIDENTS: On Monday, November 5, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a directive that insurance companies in NY State must accept a written inventory, accompanied by full photo documentation, of claim items from those they insure. In other words, starting right now, New York residents no longer have to pile up and save items that they will claim as evidence of storm or flood damage. You can now simply take a photo of each item, document it fully in writing, and then put it out for trash collection.