Eureka clean-up effort ongoing

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EUREKA, MO (KTVI) - A yellow sign with the word “uninhabitable” printed on it in bold type is one you never want to see affixed to someplace you love. But signs just like that are stuck to doors all over Eureka, still recovering from last week’s record flood.

“It’s blood, sweat, and tears,” said Tara James, as tears rolled down her face. “It’s all gone. Everything my family has worked so hard for.”

James is a member of the O’Dell family, owner of O’Dells Irish Pub, out of business for now from the flood they tried to beat, but that instead beat them.

“I know it is going to be heavy on us,” said Jerry O’Dell. “It’s a $3,000 to $4,000 a day loss here. Add that up and in a month’s time you are looking at more than $100,000,” he said.

Across the street from O’Dell’s, Michael Butler was trying to dry out his family’s electrical contracting company, which floods so frequently that in the 1990s, they raised the main part of the office by several feet.

But this time, it still wasn`t high enough to keep them dry.

“All of our stuff went under water. All the paper, all the checks, everything,” Butler said. “You can’t run a business without phones, or checks, or computers. Without it you got nothing.”

Thanks to a lot of helping hands, many residents were able to begin their cleanup over the weekend.

And thanks to volunteers who last week formed bucket brigades as the water was rising, the Bedo family had only five inches instead of five feet of sewage in their basement.

“It gave us a renewed spirit about people,” said homeowner Gretchen Bedo. “We just couldn`t believe the outpouring. Now when we look that those walls, we just see love.”

About 40 businesses and 80 homes have damage.

And then there is Eureka High School, where students will return to class on Tuesday. Three of the school’s four gymnasiums are now without flooring.

The three are part of the school’s Athletic Complex, which is on the low side of the campus.

New flooring in the largest of the three gyms was just installed this past summer. It’s covered by insurance, but it will still take at least couple of months before they are usable again. The school does have one other gym on campus that sits on higher ground.

Still, losing the lower gyms means they are going to have to hold some team practices at other schools and have all their winter team sports played as "away" games.

But the superintendent feels they dodged a bullet.

“When I look at pictures of the whole campus being surrounded by water, and in some places, a curb protecting the water from getting into the main entrance at the front, I feel compared to what some businesses and residences have, we are pretty lucky."

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced on Monday the county will make $500,000 available for interest-free loans to businesses hit by the flooding.

“We are Irish fighters, so we’ll be back soon,” James said.