School officials assessing damage following storm, flood

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Karl Hoepnner Field on Thursday evening as Dunkirk’s jayvee football team prepared to face Fredonia. Five days ago, the field was under 2 feet of water following a heavy rain storm Saturday evening.

Dunkirk school officials are trying to assess how much damage was caused to the high school following a heavy rain storm that began Saturday evening.

Tim Abbey, director of facilities, told board of education members Thursday evening that the first floor of the high school building flooded substantially. The ROTC classroom, district technology office, athletic director’s office and varsity and jayvee football locker rooms were among the hardest hit.

“Basically somewhere after the flash flooding Saturday night into Sunday morning, I looked back at the National Weather Service,” Abbey said. “Canadaway Creek is the closest one with an observation station. It went from 3 feet to a peak of 9 feet in a matter of about two hours. It was pretty devastating. It was the worst I’ve seen it.”

Among the items damaged were pieces of electronic equipment, such as Ipads, and school records, Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Tracy said. Insurance will cover everything that was damaged. Dollar wise, school officials don’t know how much damage the flooding caused.

“I was shocked at how much water came into the building,” he said. “Things were floating down the hall.”

Tracy and Abbey credited the work of staff who came in Sunday and Monday to clean. Abbey said that work continues.

Along with the high school’s first floor, Tracy said the football field was also submerged in water — about 2 feet. Crews came in to sanitize the field to allow athletes back onto the field.