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City Won’t Pay After More Than 70 Cars Damaged in Flooded Parking Lot

Kathy Reardon returned Wednesday night to salvage what she could, her car still soaking wet in Gloucester, Massachusetts, after a historic storm.

"It's totaled. Totally underwater, the car was underwater," Reardon said. "It's unbelievable, we have never seen anything like that. It looked like a graveyard of cars underwater."

Reardon, a home health care nurse, spent Wednesday evening pulling soggy papers and other items out of her car's trunk.

While she did, she was still thinking about Thursday's storm that flooded the parking lot of Gloucester High School, where her car, and more than 70 others, were parked.

"All you could see were cars, and they looked like they were in the middle of the ocean," she said.

Vanessa Lucido also had her car parked in the high school lot.

"I was staying at my friend's house for her birthday, and the next day, I got a call from my boyfriend, and he told me the lot was underwater," she said. "I thought he was messing with me for a second."

"Never seen anything like that in my life," she said.

City officials say they have used the public lot for decades, providing some relief for those in town who don't have off-street private parking during snow emergencies.

"Certainly, the city feels for these residents, and [it's] frustrating for the folks who had the loss, as well as the city, who are trying to give them some support," said Jim Destino, the city's chief administrative officer. "We have reached out to our insurance company to see if they would be covered, and they are not covered."

Destino says the parking lot has been used for decades without issue.

"Never had this type of problem before," he said. "It was a very unique storm, with the storm surge, and unfortunately we had the loss there."

MEMA field officers will be in the area later this week to see if the region can qualify for national disaster relief. In the meantime, the city has reached out to local car dealerships to provide deals, and is also waiving towing and storage fees for those who lost their cars.

"We are doing everything we can to help these people in a very, very frustrating situation," Destino said.

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