Backlog of damage repair continues 1 week after hailstorm

Backlog of damage repair continues 1 week after hailstorm

One week after a powerful hailstorm wrecked countless cars, homes and businesses, the region is still trying to pick up the pieces.

Rental car and glass companies are struggling to keep their heads above water.

Workers have been flown in from Dallas, Texas, and Omaha, Nebraska, to try and lighten the load for Safelite Auto Glass.

Over the past week, the shop in Muhlenberg Township, Berks County, has been complete chaos. Drivers have been trying to fix their windows shattered by the hard hail.

"This shop here normally does about 25 to 30 jobs a day. Now, we're doing upwards of 180 to 200," said Kirk Piper, the area sales manager.

Safelite is now shuttling customers over to the Berkshire Mall so they can shop as they wait. They also set up a catastrophe tent to provide another location to fix the thousands of vehicles affected. 

"The insurance industry is paying for the glass right now because their car might be totaled, but there's no rental cars," said Piper.

Rental cars are in short supply across the area. Truck loads from up and down the East Coast are still being brought in to several Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations in Berks County.  

Diane Ohlinger was put on a waiting list after her rear windshield was blown out from the storm. She finally got her rental Thursday.

"It took me almost a week to get the rental and all in all its been a little trying," said Ohlinger, who added she was not given an exact time when her damaged car can be towed.

In West Reading, plywood covers almost every window of Salon Shampoo in the 700 block of Reading Avenue.

The Berks County Department of Emergency Services has asked people to submit their uninsured damages from the storm. It's seeking a Small Business Administration disaster declaration, which could provide low-interest loans to assist affected persons.

"In order to get that, we would have to demonstrate that we have 25 individuals who have a 40 percent loss, and that loss is 40 percent of their total net worth as far as property," said Matt Stairiker, deputy director for DES.

The forms must be submitted no later than close of business Fri., May 30, 2014. The survey sheet can be found at

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