No Sales This Weekend: Kahala Mall in Recovery After Major Flooding
April 2, 2006 at 1:39 AM HST - Updated July 1 at 10:56 PM
(KHNL) -- Kahala Mall will be closed a day longer than first expected, after most of the mall got flooded during Friday's downpour. Officials now say most of the mall will re-open Tuesday, instead of Monday.
"Never imagine something like this could happen," said Jennifer Laureanoclaudio, manager at Gymboree. She was working at the time the waters came rushing into the mall, and her store.
"Everybody was just chaotic, and people were running to the exits and we heard the loudspeaker system say just evacuate your stores immediately," she said.
Fans and dryers filled the mall on Saturday, instead of the usual shoppers. Crews tried to dry out the carpets and the floors throughout the mall and stores.
Floodwater ran through the mall several inches high. It got as high as 5-inches inside Gymboree, and 7-inches in the backroom. Laureanoclaudio says the store was just renovated in January, and she feels most of that, including new floors and a media center, must be replaced.
Employees were able to move some merchandise in the front to higher ground, but some items in the back -- including those inside plastic bags -- couldn't be saved.
"We're just gonna pick up and move forward and keep our business good," Laureanoclaudio said. "Try to do the best that we can to get it all back in order."
That seemed to be the attitude for all the stores.
Workers tried to clean what they could, but many damaged items were packed up, to be sent back to companies. Other items were wiped clean of layers of mud.
Governor Lingle and other top officials got to see some of the damage first hand.
Kahala Mall officials say they don't have a damage estimate at this time. They say they're more concerned about cleaning up, and re-opening the mall.