PRATTSVILLE, N.Y (NEWS10) — The road to recovery drags on in Prattsville eight years after Tropical Storm Irene upended so many lives.
The grand opening of their new firehouse is this weekend, a sign of resilience for the town devastated by flooding.
A photo of a house pushed off its foundation has become symbolic of Tropical Storm Irene’s destruction of Prattsville.
“We absolutely were the iconic picture. I had just almost completed painting the house a nice bright yellow,” said David Rikard.
He lived and practiced law in that yellow house. When the call went out over the radio waves eight years ago, the volunteer firefighter rushed to the firehouse.
“Water started coming up real fast, cars started floating, you could hear the car alarms going off,” he said.
Brown was the view out the window of the firehouse where 20 firefighters became stranded.
“They were helpless because they couldn’t get out themselves,” said Prattsville Hose Company Fire Chief Jim Dymond.
Rikard had to watch from the fire station as his home was nearly swept away with his daughter inside.
“I couldn’t see my chimney anymore, so I knew something dramatic had happened at my house,” he said.
When the water receded, everyone in Prattsville survived, but the town was devastated. Eight years of recovery has made a world of difference.
“Most of the businesses have built back; some of them have built back bigger and better,” said Dymond.
And the same is true for the firehouse. Dymond shows the new $2.6 million firehouse built on higher ground. The new facility was possible through insurance and FEMA funding.
Rikard has rebuilt, too. His office now sits 12 feet above flood level.
“I think it says a lot that people have stayed,” he said. “There are good things happening here.”
Here to stay, and now, with a new firehouse, better prepared if disaster strikes.
The public is invited to an open house at the new station on Firehouse Drive in Prattsville on Sunday from 1-4.