Pelham church deals with water damage caused by detention pond flood

PELHAM – Crosscreek Baptist Church is unable to use of about two-thirds of its buildings after heavy rains in July overwhelmed a nearby detention pond causing sediment-filled water to flow into the church.

Crosscreek Pastor Brandon Hudson said the incident occurred July 15-16. During the heavy rain event, the storm water management system belonging to Newcastle Homes Inc. became completely filled with water causing the excess water to run downhill and into the church.

Newcastle Homes is building a new neighborhood called Camellia Ridge that sits behind the church and is located off Bearden Road across from Pelham High School. The detention pond was built to address the flooding issues in the area.

“We began that afternoon, on the 16th, pulling carpet out and running fans,” Hudson said. “That Monday, we met with city official and officials from Newcastle – they saw what had happened and Newcastle said they would make it right.”

Hudson said water damages to the church are estimated to cost more than $200,000 to repair.

“We’re not a large church, we can’t afford that bill,” he said. “We cannot sign a check for that amount of work to get done. We cannot afford it. So as we are able with our volunteer base, we are beginning and working on remediation and mitigation ourselves while we wait for them to make it right.”

Glenn Siddle, owner of Newcastle Homes, said he talked to his insurance company this week and the process of the getting the church repaired is moving forward. Siddle said his insurance company will pay for the damages to the church, but the time frame on when the repairs will be made is uncertain.

“It’s just a slow process when you’re dealing with insurance companies,” he said. “We’ve done everything we possibly can. When they called us to let us know what happened, we went out there immediately. We’re not trying to fight this. It’s bad for everyone involved.”

Siddle said the development’s detention pond did not fail and is still in working order.

“We’ve had engineers come in and check it out and everything is still in tact,” he said. “There was just so much water – about 7 inches fell – and it was just too much water for the pond to accommodate. Water filled up the whole pond.”

Hudson said the water damaged 90 percent of the church’s Sunday school rooms, choir room, kitchen and fellowship space.

“This is really unfortunate because that means we can’t cook meals for Wednesday night fellowships, we can’t host gatherings and we’re about to celebrate the church’s 40th anniversary in October and we can’t have a celebration here because our space is not right,” he said.

Hudson said some rooms did not receive water damage but they are still unusable.

“We’ve had to move our offices,” he said. “The offices themselves are not flooded but they’re like an island in the middle of the water damage and we don’t want to sit down there and inhale whatever is down there.”

Hudson estimated that repairs would take eight to 12 weeks to complete, if mold hasn’t started to grow.

“I honestly hate this for the pastor and members of the church,” Siddle said. “We’ve got a good reputation in the community and we want to keep it like that. We develop all over the Birmingham area and this is the first problem we’ve had.”

Hudson said another issue that needs to be addressed is what will be done to make sure an incident like this won’t happen again.

“It’s not about anger or frustration,” he said. “It’s about just wanting it to be made right.”