Displaced Ellicott City residents allowed to visit their homes

- One after another, residents and business owners in Ellicott City were taken to see their places for the first time since the flooding that devastated the city on Saturday. Howard County officials reopened residential access after closing it on Wednesday because it was too dangerous.

For Cindy Brown, it has been a long week that has been emotionally devastating.

“Some nights I fall asleep crying, wake up crying, moments throughout the day,” she told us. “But this community is so strong.”

Brown had hoped to visit her apartment on Wednesday, but county officials stopped her because the flood area was simply too dangerous after it was determined that two buildings on Main Street are at risk of collapsing.

But on this day, residents and business owners were escorted in on ATVs as they were allowed to access their homes or businesses for 10 minutes to retrieve items that could be transported in containers while also documenting any damage.

"A small number of properties are still not accessible, but even those residents will be allowed into town to visually inspect their properties," said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman. "Our emergency personnel have worked to ensure that this can be done safely and we truly appreciate the patience of all those who have been displaced."

Brown brought two large storage bins knowing exactly what she will load them with first.

“Sentimental things like my grandfather’s coffee mug, Christmas ornaments from my childhood,” she said. “If I can, I would like my guitars. But mostly just sentimental things. You can replace the rest.”

In Laurel, Jailbreak Brewing Company and a lot of other vendors from around the area gathered at the brewery for a fundraiser on Thursday for the people displaced in Ellicott City.

In addition to buying the alcohol, food and desserts available at the fundraiser, people in attendance are being asked to donate cleaning supplies and other equipment that will help these residents get back on their feet. They are being collected and then will be distributed to those in the hardest hit areas.

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