Property owners see Ellicott City flooding damage for the first time

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — For Sally Tennant, her craft store in Ellicott City was her life. Now she is trying to figure out how to rebuild and reopen after a wall of water overtook her business and home.

For 35 years, Tennant welcomed customers into the Discoveries store on Main Street, and lived in an apartment above the business.

On Saturday night, Tennant was in her apartment when the water moved through the town and slammed into the craft store. The water washed away the sidewalk leaving her no choice but to climb onto the roof of her building with her cat.

“I put my cat, my poor little 18-year-old cat in a zippy suitcase, poor little boy,” Tennant said.

From the roof she was able to get to a neighbor’s home, where there were firefighters.

This week, Tennant returned to her business and home, finding it surrounded with yellow fire department tape. The inside of the store she spent years building, was in shambles.

“All the cases were turned over and stuff was in a wet, sopping, heap,” Tennant said.

The store owner is unable to enter her business because the door is jammed shut with debris and shelves up against it. Her neighbor says an interior wall from Discoveries has fallen against his businesses.

Initial estimates to repair the damage range from $250,000 to $500,000. Tennant is uninsured but says she will find a way to rebuild and reopen.

“I don’t know how the hell I am going to do this, but I am damn determined,” Tennant said.

In addition to her business, Tennant found her car sitting in the sun at a high school parking lot, where it was taken with other vehicles that were swept away.

“It stinks to high heaven,” she said.

The water damage to the vehicle has deemed it a complete loss.

Like many other business owners in the city, Tennant has set up a GoFundMe page, hoping that the generosity of others will help her get back on her feet again.

She hopes city planners will also address the issue of flooding and try to find ways to prevent this sort of devastation in the future.

“As a resident, as somebody who loves Ellicott City, my biggest fear is what can be done about that to protect this town,” Tennant said.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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