Impact of hailstorm still being felt around Berks County

Impact of hailstorm still being felt around Berks County

WYOMISSING, Pa. - Mother Nature's wrath can still be seen and felt exactly four weeks after a horrifying hail storm hammered the area.

It's been non-stop business at Sandusky Enterprises in Muhlenberg Township, Berks County. Paintless dent repair workers are still swamped after thousands of cars were pummeled by golf-ball sized hail, and more workers are expected to arrive from out of state this weekend.

"We're at the point now where we are working seven days a week 12-14 hours a day just to keep up and it's only begun," said Koby Sandusky, who added his shop has looked at close to 100 cars this week alone.

Repairing the pings and dings is no easy task. The process of working all the dents out takes about two weeks.

As soon as the hailstorm hit, Sandusky called his son, Daniel. He left home in 2001 to open his own shop in Texas. This has been a homecoming and a reunion for him with his dad. Daniel travels the world from one storm-battered area to the next, but he said Berks County is at the top of the list.

"I was seeing the damage that was out here before I arrived, which was pretty bad," said Daniel Sandusky.

The BMW and Mercedes dealerships on Lancaster Avenue in Reading had 500 vehicles damaged totaling $10 million. The dented vehicles are still parked in the old Baldwin Brass parking lot in the city. Officials with Tom Masano Inc. said they will be put up for auction next week on eBay.

The damage is still widespread including cars, businesses and houses. The siding is ripped apart at countless homes in Wyomissing and windows were blown out in West Reading.

"We're getting real busy because we had to wait until the insurance approved it but we're getting there," said Jose Almodovar, a contractor for Heidelberg Custom Builders.

Contractors and auto shops are busier than ever. Estimates have come in and by now the insurance has gone through for many people, which has a lot of places booked solid through the end of the year.

On Thursday, West Reading issued a notice to property owners and residents regarding storm damage:

"Due to the severity of the hailstorm on Thursday, May 22, 2014, there have been a large number of contractors and public adjusters going door to door trying to solicit your business and repair your property.

"Please be advised that the borough requires all parties going door to door to obtain a solicitation permit prior to doing so. If they are approved to do such business, they will be provided an ID badge to wear at all times while soliciting. If anyone comes to your property, please ask to see their badge to make sure they are properly licensed. If they do not have the proper approvals, we are requesting that you immediately contact the codes department to report such activity. If you are able to obtain a business card please do so and forward it to our attention so they can be contacted and advised of the requirements for soliciting door to door.

"In addition, please be very careful when choosing a contractor to make any necessary repairs to your property. The borough requires permits for the majority of repairs that need to be made. All contractors must apply for their permits and provide their insurance to the codes department prior to the permit being reviewed and issued if approved. No work is to begin without the proper permits being secured."

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