Crews from across the country come to Roanoke Valley to help clean up flood damage

‘You just couldn’t stay in front of it’

SALEM, Va. – Instead of songs and prayers, the sounds of fans now fill First Christian Church in Salem, which is drying out after heavy rain flooded its basement.

Pastor Dan Netting said the church has flooded before, but it was still nerve-wracking watching the floodwaters rise.

“You just couldn’t stay in front of it," recalled Netting. "It’s just coming in too fast and too many sites.”

Floodwaters reached about 3 to 4 inches in certain spots in the basement, which saw the brunt of the damage.

“We use our basement for multiple reasons," Netting said. "Our youth meet down here. Our Boy Scouts meet down here. We have a gym facility that’s an outreach to our church members. We have storage.”

Netting called SERVPRO of Roanoke on Friday, who then called in the troops.

Kevin Lancaster, the vice president of operations at SERVPRO of Roanoke, said the water and fire damage cleanup and restoration company has a nationwide “storm team” to help local franchises inundated with calls. Crews from Missouri, Oklahoma, Florida and others hopped in their cars and headed to the Roanoke Valley.

“Sixty to 70 people from different parts of the country and they’re still coming," said Lancaster.

With 400 calls already on the books and more likely to come, Lancaster said a quick cleanup wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

“Everbody was hit with this,” said Lancaster. "This magnitude. It would have been real challenging.”

“We do have forecasts for more rain, and so we’re going to have to utilize prayer and more SERVPRO as we move forward,” said Netting.

Experts recommend people use sandbags in front of doors to block some flooding, placing valuable items out of reach of floodwaters and cleaning out drains and gutters to prevent any damage.

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