It was April 2014 when heavy rainfall in the Birmingham, Alabama area left roads flooded, properties damaged and several inches of standing water everywhere. The nearby community of Vestavia was particularly impacted by the rainfall – notably Hollywood Imports, a pre-owned luxury vehicle dealership.
Cars were swept into the dealership’s neighboring creek. Other vehicles piled on top of one another. Aside from every vehicle in the lot being damaged, the Hollywood Imports sales building was also flooded with water.
“There was a massive amount of rain,” says Nathan Ellis, owner of Rainbow International of Etowah County, who responded to the loss. “The creek got filled up with debris, which caused it to back up. But there were also reports that one of the restraints of the creek gave in up the road, so some reported that a massive amount of water and mud came from across the road – kind of like a tidal wave – and washed in from the front of the dealership.”
In addition to cars being washed into the creek and scattered every which way around the lot, a plethora of mud had washed into the parking lot and the sales building as well. In fact, Ellis says that 2 feet of mud encompassed the entire building.
“I think the biggest challenge was having to get all this work done while they were trying to also get their dealership back up and running,” says Ellis. “They did not have loss of work insurance, so time was of the essence.”
Rainbow International of Etowah County started the job on a Monday. After the dealership’s 200 cars were removed by a wrecker, crew members used a skid steer to remove as much mud as possible from the parking lot, then used a pressure washer to clear away the remaining mud two times over. The parking lot was totally clear by Wednesday and new vehicles began arriving to the dealership on Thursday.
“In the building, we took shovels to get excess mud out of the building,” Ellis says. “We then used a truckmount and a hard surface wand to remove the remaining mud. We had to remove sheetrock 4 feet high and then clean and decontaminate the walls and structure.”
In the meantime, structurally drying the building was challenging due to the activity in the sales office. Hollywood Imports was using the facility to meet with insurance adjusters, purchase news cars and handle all the paperwork.
“They had a lot going on the entire time and we tried to work alongside them,” Ellis says. “For example, we would demo an office and then move stuff from another office so they could still work. Then, we would do the next office.”
Crew members completed work on the sales office on Friday, allowing a sheet rock contractor to begin to replace the structure that same day.
When it was all said and done, Ellis and his Rainbow International team members completed the parking lot and sales office project in five days, allowing Hollywood Imports to return quickly to normal business operations. The dealership held a grand re-opening in early May, just a few weeks after heavy rainfall and the subsequent floodwaters threw business operations for a loop.