Man loses memories in flood waters - WNEM TV 5

Man loses memories in flood waters

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Damage assessment and recovery efforts are underway in Mid-Michigan as families work to clear away personal belongings and mementos destroyed by the widespread flooding.

Tom Vandermeer heard the storm roll into Midland last Thursday and checked on his basement multiple times through the night. He never expected to wake up to nearly 6 inches of water.

Vandermeer said he now has warnings for Mid-Michigan families beginning to save memories in their homes. Like many people, he stored them in his basement.

"They were all in cardboard boxes. So many of those collectibles will have to be thrown away. Some of them will be salvaged, but we've learned our lesson. You need to put things in plastic, not in cardboard boxes," Vandermeer said.

Lewis Green, with SERVPRO, explained the process once a finished basement like Vandermeer's experiences extreme flooding.

"Due to the contamination in the water and that it sat for so long, we're removing the carpet and pad because we don't want to leave it in here. Someone could get sick from it. We just basically cut out the carpet and cut out the pad and hall it out and dispose of it," Green said.

The SERVPRO clean up crews recommend if this happens to you, do not try and fix the problem yourself.

"Call a professional. Don't take care of it yourself. You're just asking for trouble later down the road. We're professionals. We know how to take care of the mold, how to prevent it, how to you know, keep it safe for you so you don't get certain kind of illnesses that are caused by sewer damage. There's a lot of things out there in the sewer water that can cause some really bad health problems and that's the most important thing is keeping yourself healthy," said William Richmond, general manager for SERVPRO.

Vandermeer said he has a tip to protect your memories.

"Don't store them on the floor and in boxes. They're going to get ruined. It's not a matter of if it will flood, it's a matter of when it will flood," he said.

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