ICS Magazine

Cleaners, Roofers Deluged by Work

January 14, 2005
JAN. 14 -- (L.A. Daily News) -- Need a carpet cleaner, a roofer or other help cleaning and fixing up your home or business after the storm? Be patient: Help might be weeks away, officials said Tuesday.

"I've never see it this busy," said Jim Tabolsky, owner of Regent Carpet Care in Canoga Park.

He's been cleaning carpets for 18 years. But he won't be doing any routine cleanings for weeks to come. Since the string of storms started after Christmas, his four three-man crews have done 90 water damage calls. The typical pace is one a day.

"I'm not scheduling any cleanings for the next month. It's all going to be water damage."

The pace is just as frantic for Wendy Wilhite, office manager at California Exteriors Roofing Contractors in Sun Valley.

Like many roofing companies, work is parceled out depending on how much water is entering the property. Waits for estimates can stretch beyond three weeks.

"I've had people call and say their house is completely flooded and we send (a crew) out immediately," she said.

Home improvement stores are also scrambling to keep up with demand from saturated homeowners.

Lowe's spokesman Chris Ahearn said demand for tarps, sandbags, pumps and rain gear has spiked sharply over the last few days and the company's command center has been activated to replenish depleted supplies.

"Some stores still have pretty good stock, other stores are wiped out," Ahearn said. "We're working to get gear to stores as quickly as we can."

George Harper, chairman of the California Real Estate Inspection Association, said that starting the drying-out process as soon as possible is critical to preventing mold.

Periodically walk your grounds to check for leaks and pooling water.

"Any by all means tell everybody to turn their sprinklers off," he said.