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US 61 Oil employees continue flood cleanup in hopes of reopening soon

Flood cleanup continues for businesses in Alexandria, Missouri. The process to get back to normal is still a long way from finished.

Employees at US Oil 61 said they’ve been closed for the last month and a half. They said they can’t believe they’re still dealing with the mess and are doing everything they can to get back on their feet.

Trash and damaged goods still cover the parking lot of US 61 Oil in Alexandria, Missouri.

“There’s soggy cigarette packs, cigarillos, so much product and beef jerky,” employee Kimberly Shemwell said. “The beef jerky sat in those tubs with rain water, Mississippi water, it smells like a porta potty mixed with dead animals. It is awful.”

Employees are moving into their sixth week of cleanup and no sales. It’s something they said has been more work than they anticipated.

“It has been hard,” Shemwell said. “Employees have been working 10 to 12 hour days trying to get all the stations up and running.”

They said they’re working to restock the shelves, while also using the damage as a chance to renovate the store.

“They’re building new counter tops, they’re getting a new counter for up here, other than that, just cleanup,” Shemwell said.

Aside from the cleanup, employees said it’s the gas pumps that are putting them on a delay, as water reached well over the top of them and now, they’re just waiting to get new ones.

“Our pumps were supposed to be here last week,” General Manager Sherry Ramirez said. “They did not show. They told us they’ll be here either yesterday or today, we have not received them yet, so we’re hoping they come later today. Without pumps, kind of hard to do.”

Ramirez said they’ve lost more than a million dollars in revenue and just want to get back to business.

“It’s a lot of work, a lot of tedious work, you get tired of it,” Ramirez said. “We don’t even want to hear the word flood and water. That’s out of our vocabulary.”

Ramirez said they’re aiming to open US Oil 61 by the end of the week. She said they will start selling product as soon as possible, even if the gas pumps aren’t fixed.

Ramirez said insurance covered the lost product. She said the cost of the repairs and renovations was close to 30,000 dollars, not counting the cost of the pumps and registers.



Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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