Crisfield residents and businesses pick up the pieces after Friday’s flooding

CRISFIELD, Md. – Friday’s storm wreaked havoc on the city of Crisfield, inundating homes with water causing permanent damage, and leaving community members to pick up the pieces.

“We redid this house about a year ago, and now we gotta start all over,” says Crisfield resident, Billy Jean Swift.

Swift tells us, saw his worst nightmare unfold. What started as a typical Friday, turned into a flooded disaster.

“My feet started getting wet, I look and water is rushing through the walls, underneath the floor, I said to Cindy, it’s time to go,” says Swift.

Swift says his house had at least six inches of water in it, and even more on the outside of his and many other residential homes. Electric was damaged, the floor was ruined, and his garage over a mile away was destroyed. Fortunately for his home, Swift says he has flood insurance, but his garage where he keeps most of his tools doesn’t have that luxury.

“Down here to my garage, I don’t know what’s going to happen here,” says Swift.

This experience makes him question why he moved so close to the shore.

“Where we lived at before, you never had to worry about water, now you gotta worry about it, so what’s the next tide going to be or next storm,” says Swift. He adds, “If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t want to live this close to the water because I don’t want to experience this anymore.”

Swift, who is also a contractor tells us this experience puts his line of work into perspective. “I help take care of some of the people’s problems that had this flood issue but I didn’t have my own problems, so now it’s hit home so now I know what people live through,” says Swift.

Meanwhile, local store owner Amber Elliot with Downtown Sneaks tells 47 ABC, it’s something they could’ve never prepared for. She says they had to find out the hard way their insurance doesn’t cover flooding.

“Especially being a new business and you put all this time and work and money into something and then to find out you have to go put more money into restoring it.”

With hundreds of dollars worth of damage, Elliot says it’s overwhelming. Between damage to shoes, clothes, screenprints, and a burnt-out POS system, they have a lot to recover from.

We also spoke with a volunteer with the fire department who says flooding in Crisfield isn’t anything new, but flooding this bad reminds him of hurricane Sandy. “There wasn’t really much we could do except for helping people out who couldn’t get out of their houses, and those got stuck in their car,” says Nate Tyler. He adds, “One of these things you can’t prepare for because you don’t know when it’s going to happen.”

Now as the town recovers, both Elliot and Swift agree, the property can be replaced but lives cannot. “Anything can be rebuilt, but you can’t put a life back so once that’s gone, it’s gone,” says Swift. Elliot adds, “It’s depressing a little bit we’re trying to see the best in it.”

However, Swift says that the city of Crisfield always comes together especially in times like these. So recovery may seem difficult, but not impossible, they’ll just have to take one step at a time. “Where there’s a negative there’s always a positive, so I’m still trying to find that positive, but it’ll be here soon,” says Swift.

Swift and other residents we spoke with say, although this amount of flooding wasn’t expected, they’re just hoping to better prepare for next time.

Categories: Local News, Maryland