Waterbury state office complex washed out - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Waterbury state office complex washed out

Waterbury, Vermont - August 30, 2011

Floodwater and debris fill the halls of Vermont's state office complex in Waterbury.

"There's a lot of evidence that we just received the worst flooding in Vermont's history," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

Tuesday, Shumlin toured the damage at the campus where the Vermont State Hospital has been evacuated and nearly 2,000 state employees are being kept home from work.

"When you get the worst flooding in Vermont's history, you wish that your buildings were not in the way of water but unfortunately that is 40 percent of the state and you can't move that," Shumlin said.

Right now, Shumlin and his team are assessing the damage. Basement and first floor offices are caked in sludge and countless dollars in lab equipment are a loss. A chief concern is much of the state's IT equipment tied to key departments like human services and natural resources.

"When the water was coming up, they brought equipment up to higher floors and that is being reassembled in Montpelier," Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said.

Shumlin says it is too early to determine what could be gone. He's asking for patience.

"We are backing up and trying to bring back the IT challenges we have. We believe that we will get there but there is going to be some delay in getting out the checks and resources that are needed in Vermont," Shumlin said.

At the department of Fish and Wildlife, flood water tossed refrigerators and much of what's left is covered in mud.

"It looks like, it is hard to explain, you can't walk, you have to walk over the top of incubators and refrigerators, they have mud in the bottom of them," said Thomas Jones of Vt. Fish and Wildlife.

While some state employees are showing up to help salvage a small piece of what's left behind, the state is working on finding other locations to house staff and get them back to work.

For those who have spent decades on projects that are now lost, they admit it won't be easy.

"The hard work that you put into it over the years, that's the hardest. You get to a certain point in your career and you gear up to do the state good service and then you see this happen, that's the hardest part for me," Jones said.

Tuesday evening the governor said that state benefit and retirement checks will go out on time. But there may be delays in benefit checks for new applicants for 3 Squares VT and Reach Up.

Keith McGilvery - WCAX News

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