Roanoke independent living facility still has work to do after damaging flood

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - After a pipe burst in an apartment of Elm Park Estates in January, the facility has been in a state of disarray. The independent living facility's staff had hoped to have everything cleaned up by now, but there is still much work to be done.

Outside the Elm Park Estates, there is no more giant yellow tubing.
And the pile of soggy ceiling tiles is gone. But inside is still under construction.

General Manager Richard Brucki said the building took longer to dry out than expected and six residents are still displaced. Resident Mable Harris had to leave her home for a few days.

"It was no big thing, that's right," she said. "I was blessed."

She said Thursday that she was impressed by the progress and is anxious to see it done.

"I think they've done a great job, they've come a long way with it," she said.

Business here has also been affected. Barbara Hensely's salon, Silver Strands, on the second floor wasn't damaged, which she said was a major relief.

"Yes oh yes!"

But January was her slowest month ever.

"The first week it really shut me down because a lot of them were evacuated and not able to come back," she said.

Things are slowly getting back to normal - which she says everyone appreciates.

"Now that they're all getting in their routine, they feel so much better."

Brucki said they try to update residents on progress each week. He said they've had a professional hygienist visit to be sure there are no health concerns. They've been working on the dining room. Next they'll get to the 17 apartments in need of repairs.

But the mess is affecting his business, too. He said potential future residents who are interested in living there have to be turned away.

"I mean I don't have any place to put six people who already live here much less you know new people coming in the door," he said. "So I don't want to lose that momentum from a sales standpoint but I also can't create a room that doesn't exist."

He said the insurance claim will more than $1 million. Staff hope to be back to a new normal in about another month.

According to Brucki, the residents have been as resilient as the building itself.

"When Humpty Dumpty is all put back together and all the residents are home," he said, "we are gonna throw the biggest party this place has ever seen."