WASHINGTON — Ellicott City residents, shopkeepers and their friends are coping with stifling heat this weekend, as cleanup efforts continue along the Main Street disaster area left by the deadly flash flood on July 30.
Hundreds of people have put on work boots, long pants and work gloves. Some are wearing respirator masks to guard against dust and mold contamination as they clean up homes and businesses.
“We have cooling tents set up. We have tons of water down there to make people stay hydrated,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.
The county designated Saturday and Sunday as clean-up days allowing property owners, residents and others to remove trash and debris from the flood-damaged buildings.
Some people used flash lights to pick their way around the interior damage.
“I saw a lot of restaurants that maybe had their front cleared out last weekend, and now they’re working in the back and taking out a lot of the equipment that was just thrown around with the rushing water,” Kittleman said. “We certainly have a long ways, still, to go.”
Contractors and insurance adjusters are among the people working in the flood-damaged area this weekend in the challenging conditions of excessive heat and humidity.
“We’re reinforcing for individuals to work in 30 minute shifts with 10 minute breaks and to stay hydrated,” said Dr. Jacqueline Douge, child health medical director of the Howard County Health Department.
A horn is sounded each half hour during the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. cleanup period in order to remind everyone to take a break.
“We’re hopeful that after these next two days that a lot of these businesses can be cleaned out as best as they can be,” Kittleman said. “We want to make sure that Ellicott City becomes a vibrant town again.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has formally requested federal disaster aid for with an early damage assessment of about $20 million.
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