NC construction industry responds to tornadoes aftermath

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Paul Rose was at home watching television April 16 when the reports starting coming in of tornadoes ripping through the state. Glued to the coverage, he saw evidence of massive 60-foot trees being tossed about, roofs of homes and businesses blown off and torrential rain and storms as they moved through Raleigh. Then he saw something else

It was a building he leases on South Saunders Street in Raleigh to Shop & Share Thrift Store. And it had been damaged by the high winds and rain. Parts of the roof were still flapping in the breeze. “I went right down there to check it out,” he says. “It was devastation-plus.”

What he found not only was the damaged roof, which covers four interconnected structures, but problems caused by the torrential rains. “The water was coming down the walls and into the floors. It was everywhere.” He would later discover that there was $250,000 worth of damage at the 15,000-square-foot structure that had once housed the family’s furniture store.

It was just one of the hundreds of buildings — commercial and residential — damaged along the storm’s path as it plowed through the Piedmont into Eastern North Carolina, touching down an estimated 62 times. For Rose, and for many other landlords or business owners, there was an easy decision to be made. “We wanted to get our tenants back in the building.”

To do it, Rose turned to Greensboro-based Disaster One Inc., a Greensboro-based company which also has offices in Raleigh, Charlotte and Atlanta. The 34-year-old company specializes in restoration and emergency services for residential and commercial property owners, taking on damages caused by fire, flooding, mold and other problems. “I had a relationship with John (Gist, regional manager of the Raleigh office). He’s done work in the past that I’m familiar with.”

Rose wasn’t the only person who turned to Disaster One.The company received 93 requests for services the first three days after the storm. “There was all kinds of damage,” Gist says. “We had properties with entire roofing systems stripped and removed, buildings where pieces of the structure had been cut off. Once the exterior shell’s been compromised, the rain comes in from the storms and does a lot of damage from the inside.”

Marccus Rubenstein, sales manager for Sunbelt Rentals in Raleigh, says his company also dealt with the storm’s aftermath. “We’re the second-largest company in the U.S. as far as rental construction, restoration and remediation equipment,” he says, noting that it also provides backup power sources for clients. “Within several hours of the tornado, we had several trucks on the road and worked all and worked all week around the clock delivering equipment all over to help storm victims, restoration and remediation contractors, demolition contractors and general contractors that were called in to do emergency work.”

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