Hurricane cleanup at senior apartments in Irmo: ‘It was a disaster’

Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Contractors worked all weekend to clear storm damage following Hurricane Ian’s landfall on Friday.

The Category One hurricane struck South Carolina at 2:05 p.m. with a peak windspeed of 92 mph, per the National Weather Service.

While the hurricane was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone by 5 p.m., infrastructural damage and evacuations persisted across the state.

In Irmo, a century-old oak tree uprooted and smashed into an AHEPA senior apartment complex resulting in sixteen evacuations and ongoing reconstruction efforts.

AHEPA locals shared eyewitness accounts of the incident with WIS.

“I was eating dinner. It was lightly raining. I did not even see the trees blowing. And all of a sudden, the whole apartment shook. I really thought it could have been an earthquake,” said Garnet Grissom, a tenant on the top floor.

After hesitating for a moment, Grissom went to check on her neighbors across the hall. Only then did she learn of a tree colliding with the apartment.

“It was a disaster. Glass all over the bedroom floors. There were tiles hanging from the ceiling. It was just a wreck inside.”

By Saturday morning, tree services were bidding for the contract to dispose of the enormously large oak tree.

“From the initial estimates, we believe that it caused about $100,000 or more in damage,” said John Maynard, co-owner of Bear Tree Care and Landscaping LLC who subsequently won the bid. The company is owned and operated by firemen.

Maynard says they started on the AHEPA project Saturday morning and expect full completion sometime Monday. This is the first of seven storm damage cleanups his team is scheduled to work following Hurricane Ian.

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