WAYNE, N.J. -- Packanack Community Church was completely flooded with up to two feet of water during Sunday night's rainstorm, Pastor Karyn A. Ratcliffe said early Monday.
More than 55 inches of water and mud also poured into the Packanack Coop Nursery School, she said.
Yet Radcliffe was quick to point out that "it was only two days ago that a full rainbow appeared over the church building at the conclusion of our Vacation Bible School program."
"The extent of the damage is unknown at this point, as we have not yet been able to walk around inside due to the excessive amount of water," said the pastor, adding that a parishioner reported "water came pouring in through the windows on the Kathleen Court side of the building."
Fire Company 5 brought water pumps, she added.
A final group of "volunteers finally went home" at 2:30 a.m., the pastor said.
The lower level of the main building "suffered severe damage," Ratcliffe said. "The copy room is completely destroyed, walls are blown out, and the copier is probably a complete loss.
"All of the carpets need to be removed, and likely much of the sheetrock, as well as all office items that were below the water line.
"The nursery school building also suffered significant flooding, with approximately 5 inches of water, mud and wood chips throughout the entire building," the pastor said. "Many of the air conditioners are probably ruined, and all of the storage cabinets have a layer of debris around their bases.
"The basement area where the boiler room is housed was also completely flooded."
Volunteers were needed Monday morning to help with the cleanup.
"Please bring cleaning supplies, including wet vacs, mops, buckets, sanitizers, paper towels, glass cleaners, heavy duty garbage bags and anything else you can think of," Ratcliffe said. "We will likely need sheetrock knives to cut up the carpet, and hammers and crowbars to remove the sheetrock.
"Plan to wear boots and/or protective footwear, as well as rubber/latex gloves and/or work gloves.
"The days ahead will not be easy, but we can have confidence that they will be blessed," the pastor said. "I have no idea where the resources will come from to clean up and restore our building...[a]nd I have no idea how we will find the strength to meet the challenges we face.
"[B]ut we can be confident that our help comes from the Lord."
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