When the flood struck the city of Oneida in June, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed. Two months later, many families are still unable to return to their homes. One business owner whose pizzeria was in the flood zone, considers himself lucky. YNN's Cara Thomas has the story.
ONEIDA, N.Y. -- One local pizzeria and ice cream shop was submerged under a few feet of water less than two months ago.
Christopher Essig of Christopher's Pizzeria & Ice Cream said, "I was pretty much in denial the whole day. I kept saying it's not going to happen, it's not going to flood, my building's not going to flood."
It only took a matter of hours before Christopher's Pizzeria was filled with four feet of water and several inches of mud. Luckily, the water subsided quickly and a handful of employees were able to clean, and gut out the building before any mold set in.
"Me and one of my employees, basically the two of us rebuilt everything ourselves. With the help of some YouTube videos and learning how to sheet rock and you know it was a good learning experience I guess," said Essig.
By August 1, only five weeks after the flood occurred, Christopher's reopened its doors.
Essig said, "I can say the last two weeks before we opened we were here pretty much, 14 to 16 hours a day. Sometimes until 1 o'clock in the morning."
They may be back open for business, but Christopher's isn't operating like normal yet because a lot of their equipment was destroyed.
"Prior to the flood we had two pizza ovens that during busy times were both running pretty much non-stop. So being down one of them is definitely pretty tough," noted Essig.
He said the flood definitely took it's toll. They lost all of their revenue through the month of July and are experiencing about a 25 percent deficit compared to where they were before. However, Essig said he's confident they'll get back to normal eventually.
He adds they are still holding out hope for assistance from the state. Last month, Governor Cuomo announced a $16 million Upstate Flood Recovery Program. Essig said he's applied for assistance but has not heard anything yet.