Kelly Casey knew her week was headed in a new direction when she learned late Wednesday night that water was burbling up through the shower drain at the Greener Postures yoga studio in South Portland.

So did Neil Lamey, who owns a Servpro franchise in Gorham that had received more than 300 calls by late Thursday to help businesses and homeowners pump out, dry out and remove flood-damaged carpets, rugs and furniture.

“This is a bad one. We normally get, on an average day, five calls,” said Lamey, whose business specializes in cleaning up after floods and fires.

The storm that dumped more than 6 inches of rain on southern Maine from Wednesday evening into early Thursday sent water gushing into basements and flowing onto office carpets. It also created business for people like Lamey.

He had two crews ready to work starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday to handle calls that began to come in within a few hours. By Thursday morning, he was bringing in crews from franchises in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to help with the calls. Commercial customers got precedence, he said, because a flood in an office or store creates problems for both customers and employees.

Residential calls came next because flooded basements tend to drain on their own, and then crews can focus on removing damaged furniture, carpets or clothing, tearing out drywall to remove wet insulation and spreading a sporicide to prevent mold.

It costs about $1,500 to pump out a bare basement, rip out the drywall, replace wet insulation and spread the sporicide, Lamey said. In a basement that’s used as a playroom or office, the cost can easily double because of the need to rip up floor coverings and remove damaged or destroyed furniture.

Homeowner’s insurance usually doesn’t cover the damage or repairs, he said.

That’s because the policies exclude damage caused by water coming in from outside, said Jeffrey M. McDonnell, president of the Maine Insurance Agents Association. Most insurers will suggest flood insurance only to those who live in a federally designated flood zone, he said.

People affected by the deluge could qualify for aid if damage from the storm exceeds $1.8 million and the state requests and is granted federal disaster relief. Typical types of assistance include housing, grants for uninsured losses, low-interest loans, counseling and unemployment assistance.

The storm was punctuated by an intense 90-minute downpour that resulted in 3 inches of rain inundating low-lying areas and, in some cases, overwhelming drainage systems carrying all that water away from homes and businesses.

Fire crews were hit with dozens of calls from homeowners whose basements were filling up rapidly. Kevin Guimond, South Portland’s fire chief, said his department doesn’t pump out flooded basements, but to prevent electrical shorts it will turn off circuits if the water reaches the height of outlets.

“We were pretty busy for about three hours or so,” Guimond said.

Portland officials said its fire crews responded to 116 calls about flooded basements.

AAA Northern New England also got plenty of calls. Pat Moody, a spokesman for the association, said the call volume was about 25 percent higher than in a typical midweek period, although those numbers were likely depressed because the worst of the storm hit after rush hour, when most people were settling in for a night at home.

Cars from flooded parking lots were taken to service centers, he said, because insurance companies generally require a flooded-out car to undergo a safety check before they’ll allow it to go back on the road.

For business owners, the busiest and most nerve-wracking times were at the start of the business day Thursday.

James Joyce, manager of Maine Hardware on St. John Street, arrived at his store at 7 a.m. to find a knot of soggy customers looking to buy a wet/dry vac to get water off their floors. Joyce turned to Servpro when he found about a quarter inch of water in the lighting department and another half-inch or so in the basement.

Both the water in his store and the calls from customers reflected the impact of the storm, Joyce said.

“A lot of times we’ll have some leakage, but this was quite a storm,” he said Thursday. “Every call this morning was for a sump pump or a wet vac.”

Joyce noted that his rental wet/dry vacs were gone for the day shortly after he opened.

In South Portland, tenants at a small office building were pulling files and furniture into hallways to allow a crew to dry the carpet. After a vacuum pulls about 90 percent of the water off the floor, cleanup workers will return in a few days to rip up the carpet.

Mike Concannon, the owner of Port Printing Solutions, said a few samples were likely ruined by the soaked carpet that he found in his office at 525 Main St., but he didn’t consider the damage extensive.

One of the building owners, Jim Talbot, said it had never suffered any water damage in 12 years, but he noted that a nearby section of Main Street was torn up by the Portland Water District, and that could have changed drainage patterns.

Workers at Day One, which offers substance abuse counseling in the building, were trying to keep boxes of files from being damaged. Lisa Munderbach, the chief operating officer, said counselors would cope by moving sessions to an undamaged room, since the flooding only affected about half of Day One’s offices.

At Greener Postures, Casey said the yoga studio had a dry run, so to speak, in dealing with a flood when a city water pipe burst two years ago.

That experience led the company to beef up its insurance coverage, so even as the water soaked the studio’s bamboo floor and damaged equipment, she figured it would likely mean no loss if the business is out of commission until Monday, when she hopes it will reopen.

“We’re still uncovering things as we pull up the floor,” she said. “We’re working very hard to salvage things and do what we can.”

Lamey, who has owned his Servpro franchise for a decade, said cleanups and repairs will probably move quicker than most people imagine. He has a relatively bright outlook when it comes to disasters, and expects things to be getting back to normal by Tuesday.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

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