Rainwater surged down a parking lot behind two neighboring Hitt Street residences during Tuesday’s storm, breaking at least one window and submerging the interiors of both with as much as six feet of water.
“There’s quite a bit of water damage,” Columbia Fire Department Capt. Jerry Jenkins said.
Residents of 210 Hitt St. were home at about 6 p.m. when the flooding began. Nobody occupied the residence next door at 300 Hitt St., which is used for storage and was more heavily damaged than the other residence.
The below-ground land between the two sites is a natural collection spot, Battalion Chief Gary Warren said, and a clogged drain contributed to the severity of the flooding.
Warren said flooding of this nature isn’t typical, but flood prevention in “these older buildings” is limited to checking seals.
“There’s not anything people can do in particular, to be quite honest with you,” Warren said.
By 7:30 p.m., firefighters had pumped most of the water out of the area and expected to enter the residences about 30 to 40 minutes later with vacuums and squeegees.
Two blocks southeast of the Hitt Street flood, the basement of Paquin Tower also flooded.
Water in the tower damaged offices, maintenance areas and an elevator shaft but no apartments. Fire Department Capt. Eric Hartman said nobody was hurt in the elevator, which was empty when the water entered, but damages of unknown value exist.
“The housing authority has people looking into that now,” Hartman said.