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Construction leads to EKU parking lot flooding

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Roughly one to two inches of rain fell in Richmond Wednesday night, which WKYT's Chief Meteorologist Chris Bailey said would not have been enough to cause any flash flooding. Yet at Eastern Kentucky University, in the Madison parking lot, that's exactly what happened all because of a construction project just up the hill, according to the University.

EKU's Vice President for Administration, James Street, said the flooding happened after the drain was covered by construction materials.

"The contractors are required to control their storm water runoff, and they use a silt fence or a filter fabric," answered Street, adding, "This one (drain) had silt fence put over the storm water inlet and it stopped up, unfortunately."

The school estimates 30 cars were parked in standing water, with close to a dozen cars having some water damage, and at least two or three cars with enough damage they fear the cars could be totaled.

"I got the worst of it," said freshman Kelsey Blevins, "yesterday when I found this parking spot, I was like, 'oh, this is such a good parking spot!' And now I get flooded."

Blevins said she first learned of the flooding last night, when she got a frantic call from her mother.

"My mom called me freaking out because somebody posted a photo on Facebook and my car was in it. I was allowed to see anything until the water went down. So I couldn't wait until this morning."

What she found wasn't much better. A water mark on her car was several feet off the ground and warned of what was likely waiting for her inside.

"There's water all in the bottom of it, the speakers are ruined, the controls on the side of my seat are damaged. I'm afraid my car's not going to get fixed," stated Blevins.

Blevins was just one of the victims finally getting to see the damage left behind.

"It was definitely pretty full in there last night," pointed Samantha Parrigan to the moisture on her windows, and the wet sweatshirt on her seat. She went on to say, "I am so mad, I couldn't even sleep last night."

"I just bought it like a month before I moved down here to come to school, and now it's ruined," she added.

While Parrigan's car was still able to start up, a closer look only discouraged the student.

"There's mud everywhere. Inside the car, the floorboards are muddy and the seats are wet."

Although, not every car in the lot was affected.

"I would not want my car over in that area," said freshman Rachel Blades, whose car was spared. Still, Blades said she wasn't taking any chances and decided to move her car to another lot.

Still, one Richmond mechanic said this damage is not the type you can clean up with just a few towels.

"It can severely damage a car because a lot of the computer work is underneath the seats in some of these newer cars. Once the water gets into the wiring, there's no way to ever get that back out," said Stephen Green of Complete Automotive, in Richmond.

Green went on to say the damage is so hard to repair that he won't even consider taking on the repair work.

"It's had for, yeah."

Street said that because of the backup caused by the construction materials, the University is not liable for the damages. Still, Street said EKU is doing everything they can to help the students out, including placing notices on the cars in the lot that tell the students to contact them if they believe their car has any flood damage.

On the notice, the students are asked to get a police report from the campus police, and then take it to the University Counsel office to start the process of making an insurance claim, one the contractor's insurance will be handling.

EKU also assures that this problem will not lead to any more flooding.

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