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Hardware Stores Hopping After Storms Pound Dallas/Fort Worth

The wave of storms that hit the Dallas area sent homeowners rushing to pick up supplies for emergency repairs.
The Mesquite Cemetery flooded and a large tree split three ways over headstones. Photo by Frank Everett.

Published June 12, 2009 By JOE SIMNACHER


North Texans awoke Thursday needing a quick bailout -- from a natural crisis, not man- made.

The waves of storms that hit the Dallas area sent some homeowners rushing to pick up supplies for emergency repairs.

"We've got a lot of tool rental [requests] on submersible pumps and generators for houses that are out of power," said Lenny Gaspari, manager of a Home Depot in northeast Dallas. "They are just trying to get the water out."

Power saws were also popular.

"There are a lot of chain saws going out and stuff of that nature ... a lot of debris pickup," Gaspari said. "Some contractors are already asking about fencing."

One Home Depot customer purchased eight bags of sand in an effort to contain a backyard flooding problem.

In DeSoto, Weisman Hardware had already sold a couple of chain saws by midmorning and was anticipating more business from professional tree crews, said Benito Hernandez.

Steve Houser, president of Arborilogical Services Inc. in Dallas, said tree damage from the storms may be the worst since the ice storm of New Year's Eve 1978 and another in the mid-1980s.

By noon Thursday, Houser's firm had received 80 to 90 calls for emergency service -- to remove trees on houses, on cars and on driveways.

"We are getting new emergency calls at one to every three to five minutes," Houser said.

He suggested using an International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist who is insured. Certified arborists are listed on the Texas society's Web site,

"There's no need to hire the guy who's knocking on the door when that's the guy who is less likely to be a professional," Houser said.

While storm damage was clearly visible across the area, it will take time to come up with a dollar estimate, said Jerry Johns, president of the Southwestern Insurance Information Service in Austin.

"But this was a pretty severe storm. ... It will be pretty significant in the grand scheme of things," Johns said.

"Seventy- and 80-mile-an-hour straight-line winds can cause some pretty significant damage, particularly to the roofs of homes and businesses."

While wind damage was most obvious, soaking rains created other problems.

The flooding sent Brent Howell, chief executive officer of Texas Rubber Supply in Dallas, to Elliott's Hardware to buy a wet-dry vacuum.

"We have some water inside our office," Howell said. "It rained so much the drainage couldn't handle it."

Staff writer Rebecca Simon contributed to this report.

What to Do

With many Dallas-area homeowners facing emergency repairs, Jerry Johns of the Southwestern Insurance Information Service in Austin offers these tips:

  • Call your insurance agent or company immediately. The volume of claims will begin to pick up, and you want to be in the queue.
  • Make small repairs to damage that could threaten your property. Keep the receipts because these expenses are often reimbursable.
  • Do not make major repairs until an adjuster has examined the property.

About the author

Mr. Joe Simnacher

Mr. Simnacher writes for The Dallas Morning News.

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