The bird feeders seemed a bit out of place Thursday, a testament to the fact that three weeks ago, John Benck was running a thriving feed and pet supply store.

Dangling from the ceiling, they managed to escape the flash flood that swept through the Amado Feed and Pet Supply late Sept. 2.

They and a couple dozen feed bags sitting on pallets six feet off the ground are all that is left of Benck’s business. Virtually everything else lies in the muck outside or in one of the 12 Dumpsters he rented following the storm, which swept Amado with up to four feet of water.

Mud still cakes the floor and rings some of the walls around Benck’s warehouse. Other walls are half demolished.

He’s moving forward despite receiving bad news this week.

“My insurance company denied me any coverage, they’re not even going to insure my inventory,” Benck said.

Between the feed store and his business next door, Amado Westside RV Storage, he estimates his loss at $300,000 to $350,000.

He’s determined not to dwell on it or what caused the flood, at least for now. Instead, he’s power washing the floors and walls, installing new drywall and ordering merchandise.

“I’m focused on getting my doors open so I can sell some bird seed and hay bales. I’ve got to get some incoming rolling,” Benck said. “It’s going to be a slow process to get back on my feet.”

Down the street at the Cow Palace, owner Lynn Greenes is still on pins and needles waiting for her insurance company to decide if she’s covered. She makes daily trips to the restaurant to clean as much as she can. She’s also busy opening cards from well-wishers across the country.

Her employees, some of whom already have new jobs, received their last check Friday.

She has no idea what the insurance company will say, but is worried considering what happened to Benck.

“Am I hopeful? Well, I guess the doors aren’t shut yet,” Greenes said.

David Sagers, the owner of All Pro Automotive, said he is still waiting to hear about his building, but his “inland marine floater” policy covered most of his tools.

Carmine DeBonis, Deputy County Administrator for Pima County Public Works, said the county is still waiting to receive word from the U.S. Geological Survey, which has been asked to look into the flood.

A preliminary county report on the downpour suggests much of the blame for damage could fall on what it calls “a very significant storm and extreme flood event.”

The report by Pima County Flood Control says numerous factors may have contributed to the flooding, including dikes, levees and fences along the Sopori Wash floodplain, but the main culprit was at three inches of rain in a short period of time.

Pima County officials stopped work on the Dollar General store in Amado pending the outcome of an investigation of how the water traveled.

County workers had found “some debris remnants from the flooding and saw some erosion near the foundation form and the trenching that was being done for utility work,” DeBonis said.

Kim Smith | 547-9740


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