Residents shocked by damage after Windsor, Ont., flood

After record rainfalls in Windsor and Tecumseh, Ont., work crews were overwhelmed with calls from homeowners with flooded basements.

One cleanup company alone received 1,000 calls for service after heavy rains flooded basements

Cleanup crews were busy throughout Windsor and Tecumseh, Ont., Saturday as residents continue to recover from severe flooding that hit the region earlier in the week. (Derek Spalding/CBC)

With the worst of the flooding over, residents in the southwestern communities of Windsor and Tecumseh, Ont., continue to pump water out of their basements, while finally assessing the extent of the damage.

Record rainfalls drenched both communities this week, flooding what is anticipated to be thousands of homes, according to municipal officials.

The rain came so hard and fast, mayors in Windsor and Tecumseh declared a state of an emergency in order to get assistance from the provincial government.

While the communities wait to find out what help is available, homeowners were still reeling from the destruction.

Residents in Windsor are still assessing the damage to their homes after flooding earlier this week. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

"The [crews] are still draining and ripping up all the floor," said Kim Ryan, who lives in an east-end suburb of Windsor. "Today's the worst when you actually see the destruction. Today's a devastating day."

She has been working with a restoration company desperately trying to make her home liveable again.

"It's very mouldy, very smelly and just not pleasant," she said. "As soon as you walk on the wood, the water would start gushing up again."

When the water cleared out of Mary Carlesimo's home in Tecumseh, she was left with a layer of sewage about an inch deep covering most of her basement floor. 

Crews have assessed the damage, which is expected to amount to an estimated $50,000. Carlesimo's insurance will only cover up to $10,000.

"I cried," she said. "I'm hoping the town, I'm hoping somebody can come through and help everybody that's had this damage because it's definitely not the homeowner's fault. This is something more than that."

Demand for repairs soar

Restoration companies have been slammed with work with many of them struggling to keep up with the demand. 

Restoration company Promus Windsor has crews working from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seeing dozens of homes in a day. The company brought inspectors from the Greater Toronto Area to help with the work.

"They don't have enough people to attend the emergencies right now," said Fernando Londono, an inspector from Promus GTA.

He and his crew has already been to about 45 homes and they expect to be in Windsor for another two or three weeks.

Paul Davis restoration company has been slammed with calls from homeowners since the flooding began on Thursday.

Worker Jordan Durocher hauled out armfuls of soggy wood from a home on Cobblestone Crescent in Windsor Saturday morning.

He and about 40 crews were in some of the hardest hit areas in Windsor and Tecumseh, trying to keep up with demand.

"We have about 1,000 calls that have come in," he said. "I've been there for a couple of years and I've never seen anything like it."

One cleanup crew used a large squeegee to pull excess water off the front lawn of an east Windsor home, Saturday morning. (Derek Spalding/CBC)

Many basements have been completely destroyed, Durocher explained. He describes seeing full living room cabinets floating in about a metre of water.

"People's sewers can't keep up and sump pumps are burning out," he said. "People are just seeing ridiculous amounts of flooding in their basements.

Sump pumps a hot commodity

In the last couple days, hardware stores were barely able to keep up with the demand for sump pumps and ventilators.

Several stores in Windsor have put many of the items on emergency order just to get supply in soon enough.

Customers rushed to places like Princess Auto, eager to get their hands on sump pumps. Sales team member John Dupuis said the store sold out within about four hours.

"It was a constant lineup at the door, just to get pumps," he told CBC News. "It was very sad to see so many people panicking about their homes."

With more demand expected to come, Princess Auto will be turning to its other locations to provide pumps.

"We will keep the supply up, if we have to raid other stores that didn't any rain out in Toronto," Dupuis said.

With files from Amy Dodge, Natasha MacDonald-Dupuis