Pools is Open for Business!
The aftermath was indescribable. The glass windows on the front of our building were completely shattered, the sign above it was ripped into shreds and hung dangerously in the air, pieces of metal and debris lay scattered in the parking lot, and almost every vehicle parked was damaged, some even totaled.
Most of the metal that lay on the ground was thrown from the roof above which was brutally damaged. Two portions were completely destroyed: one over our showroom, and the other over our warehouse. The ceiling in part of our showroom collapsed caving in on a room where one of our sales associates, T.J., was helping one of our dealers. "The lights flickered and I heard a loud bang," said T.J. "Then the roof came down and we all just ran for our lives," he explained. " I could feel it pulling my shirt when I was trying to get away, I looked up and it was right there. Man, I could have died." Later you could see steel beams and portions of the ceiling laying where they stood only moments ago, completely crushing the pool beside them. They were certainly lucky.
At the exact same moment,
back in the metal production room, a young man by the name of
After the tornado passed, everyone gathered safely outside and watched in the rain as fire truck and police lights flashed silently. Emergency vehicles had arrived from locations miles away. "I've never seen anything like this before," said one lady as she looked on. The damage was great. People tried taking pictures of their broken windshields and dented vehicles with their cell phones, before being shooed away by firemen. "Everyone get back. We can take pictures later. We need everyone back and out of harms way, there is a risk of an explosion," one fireman instructed. Some watched while others slowly went home. There was a lot of work ahead on the road to recovery.
Employees and work crews arrived bright and early that next morning to start the clean up process. The building almost looked abandoned. The building had no power and was pitch black. Large puddles of water were everywhere and had soaked just about everything. Water had even got ankle deep in some places. The sight was grim, but there was a job to do. Work on the facility began almost immediately. Everyone pitched in. Local contractors; electrical, roofing, flooring, construction, and others began on their respective jobs. Teams of management, staff employees, members of the community and friends also began work under the coordination of our company president, John Mazza. "You don't cry when things go wrong, you roll up your sleeves and fix the problem," he said with a confident smile, "We have a lot of work to do but it's going to get done."
During this time many dealers who had ordered swimming pools and vinyl liners for their customers were unable to get in contact with us. The moment the phones were up and running, Pete, our National Sales Manager was the first to start answering calls. "We only have one line, so I have to make the best of it," said Pete. He had set up a temporary office in a dimly lit room that was still damp from water that had flooded. "I'm fine I feel like I'm at home," he joked.
The task was great. The two areas where the ceilings had collapsed were boarded up and isolated so construction could proceed safely. Water was vacuumed out, and dried in flooded areas. Debris and trash were swept along with broken glass, shattered doors and windows were repaired, and power and communications were restored. A job that should have taken months was completed within three days. The incredible dedication and hard work of everyone together made it possible to restore our facility back to a functional state within such a short period of time. "It's amazing. Simply amazing," said Vice President Vicki Parks.
Production is back up and
running and trucks are steady arriving to pickup pools, liners, Swim Spas, spas
and other products to quickly get them to our dealers.