City of Loris still assessing damage to records, building after city hall roof collapses during Hurricane Florence

Loris still assessing damage to records, building after city hall roof collapses during Florence

LORIS, SC (WMBF) – The city is still trying to find out just how much damage was done to city hall after the roof collapsed during Hurricane Florence in September.

"We knew we had an issue when we opened the door and it was completely flooded, there was insulation on the floor. When you open the door and there's a timecard from someone from 2012 that greets you at the door, you know you got problems,” said City Administrator Damon Kempski. During Hurricane Florence last September, rainwater collected on part of the roof at Loris City Hall collapsing the weakest part of it over the records room.

"The amount of water that fell at that moment was enough to break a door in half,” said Kempski. At this point, the city is still determining what's salvageable and what was ruined during that roof collapse, according to Kempski, but he said most of what was destroyed was older records, personnel files, and information they don’t need to operate on a day to day basis.

"Not ordinances, minutes, any of that kind of stuff. Nothing of that manner was destroyed. You’re talking archived records for the entire city. Stuff that we use and we reference when you're going back and you need to look into something and say what's the back history on that,” he said.

Within the last few years, the city has gone digital. Kempski said a lot of the newer records can be found electronically, and that's why this incident has affected the older records more.

"Think about boxing everything up and trying to move into another location. You're having to determine what can be saved and what can't.. and then you're having to go through it. We have limited space, so it's been very challenging."

In terms of getting back into city hall, Kempski said it could be as long as a year if they even return to that building.

"We're having constant meetings with SCEMD, FEMA. We're still trying to determine the best course of action for the building. We want to do what's best as far as providing services for the community but we also have to look at the cost-effectiveness of what we can do with the building,” said Kempski.

He said there are options on the table such as moving back into the old city hall building, moving into it with a new footprint, or moving into a new location altogether.

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