SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — At approximately 100 years old, a vacant office building at the corner of Saratoga and Main streets in the Historic District of Downtown Suffolk may not see another year. Most of the building’s rear wall is now a pile of bricks. Several blocks in Downtown Suffolk remained closed to the public Wednesday evening, and still in the dark due to power outages.
During a survey of the damage Wednesday, Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink told WAVY-TV 10 the city is counting its blessings. So far, no deaths or injuries have been reported in Suffolk after at least 99 homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed.
“It certainly could have been a different story had it happened later in the morning,” said Klink.
The morning after Isaias ripped through Virginia, the storm engineers were busy assessing the heavily-damaged Brandon House Furniture store while employees were busy trying to salvage what they could.
Since 1873, the Suffolk News-Herald has kept the community informed. Early Tuesday morning, the news organization made the headlines. On Wednesday morning, a restoration crew was busy trying to prevent additional damage to the paper’s headquarters on Saratoga Street. With the front doors wide open, a copy of the latest edition was on display, but the scene behind that newsstand told the story of Isaias’ damage.
The roof of the paper’s red brick building caved in, water poured in, a garage-style door was blown away but the newsroom was untouched. Editor Tracy Agnew said since most functions are taking place outside the building because of the pandemic, so online, social media and printed services will roll on as usual. Agnew promises subscribers will not miss their twice-a-week deliveries of the morning paper.
But just across the street, the damage to another building created a different type of problem.
The Western Tidewater Community Services Board is shuttered to clients who visit this building for mental health, substance abuse, and intellectual disability services.
Executive Director Demetrios Peratsakis and his team have hit the streets to hand out fliers to some of the neediest of residents who could be in crisis.
“One of the things we’ve done, we have distributed broadly a central contact number so that anybody in need can contact us and we can make arrangements,” explained Peratsakis. The hotline number is 757-758-5106. Additional information is available on the Board’s website: www.WTCSB.ORG.
The board is spreading the word: The tornado has damaged the building but the foundation for help remains intact.
“We want to be able to make sure you (those in need of services) contact us so that we can immediately start to address your needs,” said Peratsakis.
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