ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — There has been very slow progress in Ellicott City, days after historic flooding destroyed Main Street.
Two people were killed in Saturday night’s flooding. Now the community is coming together to help the dozens and dozens of people impacted.
Several buildings remain on the verge of collapse, but Colin Riley still sees a future there.
“I love Ellicott City, I love this town and the people in it and being in the heart of it,” Riley said.
His brother was trapped on Main Street, where they share an apartment.
“I watched as these cars were washed away in the flood, and I felt so powerless and so trapped because I couldn’t go to help him, I couldn’t do anything for him. It was really scary,” said Riley.
Colin came back to collect a few essential items.
“It’s an image that’s just burned into my mind of all this destruction,” he said.
Recovery will be slow. Authorities are dealing with crumbling foundations and a collapse of infrastructure — a precarious situation that changes by the minute. A sewage leak was stopped Thursday on the Sucker Branch on Sylvan Lane.
“There are some homes with some structural problems, and we’re certainly going through all of those. Our inspection folks have looked at that, and we’ll make sure that everything’s done properly, No one’s going to go into a home until we’re sure it’s safe for them. And there are some people I’m sure that are upset because they have a home they think is safe, but we have to make sure the truck’s get done, the emergency folks can get through,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.
Residents and businesses will be able to access their properties Friday from 11 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Residents should meet at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church to register to be escorted to their homes.
Courtney Watson used to represent the heart of the flooded area on the Howard County Council. She’s been busy at the Disaster Assistance Center, giving out crucial supplies to the victims.
“One thing I can say about Main Street is that it’s very, very resilient, and there is no doubt that these merchants will be back in business after a period of time,” said Watson.
It’s these stories of kindness that are emerging from the town’s devastation.
“It’s very refreshing to see how helpful people can be in such a devastating situation,” said Stephen Heussler, resident. “Everyone knows everyone here, and people just want to lend a helping hand to whoever they can.”
An outpouring of support that is giving Ellicott City the strength to heal.
“It’s going to continue to be expressed in a lot of ways as we begin to see how we can rebuild–not just our buildings, but our lives, our livelihood and our community,” said Father Tanghe, of St. Paul’s Catholic Church, where more than 50 people sought shelter from the raging floodwaters.
Loved ones said goodbye Thursday during funeral services for Jessica Watsula in Pennsylvania. She is one of two people who died in the flood.