Lexington Kohl's reopens after storm damage

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kohl's opened about an hour and a half after they normally do, but it wasn't exactly business as usual.

A leak in the ceiling during Wednesday's heavy rain first started around 7:00 p.m. By the time the store opened around 10:30 Thursday morning, many shopping areas were blocked off by caution tape and fans were also blowing around the store to try and dry up some of the water.

Some ceiling tiles were still missing Thursday morning where the leak happened. Customers were being told to stay out of the areas that were blocked off by caution tape and if they wanted something in those sections to ask an employee to get it for them.

Customers told WKYT that was somewhat inconvenient because they couldn't browse through several sections. Kohl's typically opens at 9:00 a.m., but many customers who were out trying to get some shopping done early were surprised to find the store wasn't open.

"It was weird when I pulled up and saw that something was going on and I saw that tree down over there," says Heather Combs, a shopper. "It's kind of inconvenient that I have to wait."

Employees weren't able to give out any information about the clean up efforts, or how long it'll be until the store is completely back to normal, but it's clear Wednesday night's heavy rain certainly had an effect on the business.


Original story:

Wednesday night severe storms brought heavy rain and lightning to the Lexington area, and a busy store had some damage.

Lexington firefighters say the roof opened up at the Kohl's in Hamburg, flooding the store.

The initial call-out was for a lightning strike that had blown a hole in the roof. When firefighters arrived on scene, they quickly discovered there'd been no lightning, but sure enough, water was dumping through the ceiling and onto the floor.

Firefighters say all the rainwater from the storm overwhelmed the drain on the roof and the pipe broke.

"Basically created a six-inch hole in their roof, which, in the middle of a thunderstorm, on a roof the size of Kohl's, creates quite a significant water situation inside the store," Major Matt Galati, with the Lexington Fire Department said

So, they came up with a unique fix.

"The captain on ladder six is a veteran of the department and sometimes you've gotta think outside the box. He called for large traffic cone and was able to jam that cone down in the hole and it totally stopped the leak. The only thing you've got open is that small hole on the middle and they were able to plug that with a ball," Galati said.

By the time they plugged the hole, they say there was about two inches of water on the floor.

"Probably going to be a 15-20 minute fix for a plumber, but it's going to be quite a water cleanup for a water company," Galati said.

"What page of the Lexington Fire Department manual is this procedure on?" WKYT's Sean Moody asked.

"I don't believe that procedure's on any page of our manual. We get calls for all kinds of stuff, it's not always fires or ambulance calls. When they don't know who to call, they call the fire department. We've got to come out, we've got to come up with a way to do it and experience leads the way on that. You've seen stuff that others haven't and you come up with something that's outside the box and make it work and that's what it's all about sometimes," Galati said.

Cleanup crews remained on scene through the night. They have been taking equipment in and out of the store.

The manager told firefighters they hoped to reopen by morning. The doors were still closed at 9:00 a.m., but the store was reopened shortly before 11:00 a.m.

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