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Floodwater claims first two Penzance business victims

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 06, 2014

  • Matt Strick took this picture of waves smashing over the Penzance harbour wall opposite the Dolphin Inn.

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THE relentless storms have resulted in misery for home-owners on Penzance seafront while two seafront businesses will be closed for a week after being flooded.

Firefighters were kept busy for most of Tuesday night following an initial call-out to a house fire in Queen Street at 6.30pm caused by water tracking in an electric meter box.

From there the crews went to help deal with flooding all along Penzance promenade as high tide approached.

As the tides receded, crews helped pump out seafront properties which suffered flooding despite most homes having sandbags in place.

Watch manager Gary Rich said: "The water table was so high that the water was coming up through the floorboards."

Called to separate incidents through the night at Varfell and Crowlas, the crews also helped with problems caused by the high tides which hit Penzance and Newlyn yesterday morning, a tidal surge causing flooding in Newlyn.

Jim McKenna, Cornwall councillor for the Penzance Promenade ward, paid tribute to the emergency services.

"Conditions on Tuesday evening were at a completely different level from the day before but the police, Cormac and the fire service did a fantastic job of keeping people safe," he said.

Firefighters pumped out floodwater from Alexandra Road and Cornwall Terrace.

They also helped to deal with street furniture, paving slabs and even metal fencing from in front of the Queens Hotel which had been ripped out by the force of the waves.

On Monday morning the owners of the Queens Beauty Salon and the Queens Hair Salon were faced with 2ft of water in their premises.

The combination of the gales and high tides caused huge waves to crash over the prom and caused a build-up of floodwater at the bottom of Morrab Road and in the car park at the rear of the Queens Hotel.

Debbie Howes, who runs the beauty salon in the basement of the Queens Hotel, said: "It was pretty devastating to come in and find 2ft of water in the salon. I only took over the business 16 months ago and a lot of my equipment is new.

"It's absolutely horrendous but I have had a lot of help and support from friends and neighbours and the only good thing is that at least it was clean sea water."

Lucinda Holman, from the Queens Hotel, was working at the time and said that although the storm was fierce, she had seen worse.

"It was certainly coming in pretty hard against the hotel windows," she said. "Stones and seaweed washed all the way round the hotel to the car park."

The seas also caused flooding to properties along from the Queens Hotel and owner Anthony Holman, together with Mr McKenna, brought in sandbags to help protect against later high tides.

"The quarry at Castle-an-Dinas were very good about giving us some sand," said Mr Holman. "And with the help of Danny Mennear, from Mennear Plant Hire, we were able to get a good number of sandbags down here."

Mr McKenna said it was "fantastic" that they had helped out.

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