Majority of diocesan properties escape with reparable flood damage

Churches and schools have started the recovery process after historic floods hit the state during the first week of October.

“Everybody is pretty much dried out, and now we’re waiting on repair and cost estimates from water mitigation providers,” said Tracy Bates, claims risk manager for Catholic Mutual Group.

“We also need to get inventory from everyone on interior contents that were damaged. Some of the teachers from Blessed Sacrament School, for instance, had books that were damaged and couldn’t be salvaged, and now is the time to take account of things like that.”

Bates said while some parishes and schools were more severely damaged than others, overall the diocese was lucky considering the magnitude of the rainfall and flooding that swamped much of the state.

“The Diocese of Charleston has been truly blessed,” she said. “We originally thought the damage was going to be much worse. Now it’s just a matter of evaluating the damage and moving on. Patience is going to be a virtue.”

Among the locations that were hardest hit, Blessed Sacrament School in Charleston was closed until Oct. 13 after its ground floor received about two inches of water. The floors were cleaned and ruined carpets were removed or replaced before students returned.

The Carter-May Residence for assisted living in Charleston had water fill its hallways and some rooms during the flooding. Since then, floors have been dried and cleaned and carpets have been removed.

Carpet was also removed and floors cleaned in the lower chapel at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

The flooded basement boiler room of Sacred Heart Church is now dry, and the electrical system was checked and determined to be undamaged. A follow-up check will be done in the next week.

Some of the worst flooding happened at St. Mary Our Lady of Hope in Summerton, which took on almost a foot of water. Since then, the church has dried out and workers determined there was no damage to the underside of the floors. Pews and undamaged contents have been removed and further tests are being run on the building itself.

St. Mary Our Lady of Ransom Church in Georgetown was fortunate not to receive damage, but the rectory was not so lucky. The house has severe damage to the HVAC system and duct work, and future plans for the rectory are still undetermined.

A corner of the parking lot at St. John Neumann Church in Columbia caved in and is roped off, and the sanctuary took on some water from roof leaks.

Other locations that filed claims include St. Paul the Apostle Church and School in Spartanburg, Charleston Catholic, the youth center at St. Jude Church in Sumter, St. Andrew School in Myrtle Beach, and St. John the Beloved in Summerville.


Photo provided: St. Gregory the Great School in Bluffton sponsored a “Stuff the Bus” campaign to help people affected by the storm and floods in the state. They collected water and paper supplies such as paper towels and toilet paper, loaded it in the school bus, and made deliveries to emergency drop-off points. The first load was taken to the Bluffton Police Department, with more deliveries following.