Cleanup begins at storm damaged Crowne Plaza Hotel


by Chelsea Rabideau

Posted on July 20, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 21 at 5:50 PM

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – Debris from the roof of the Crowne Plaza Hotel that was blown off in Thursday’s severe storms is in the process of being cleaned up. The top four floors were damaged with leaking water. But, if all goes as planned, all the rooms will be reopened by next Wednesday, just in time for some of the biggest events of the summer.

Workers were on every floor of the eight story tower at the Crowne Plaza Louisville Saturday working to address the damage from Thursday’s storm.  There were between 70 and 90 workers on-site. 

Normal operations continued at the hotel and Blue Horse Restaurant over the weekend.  There were approximately 280 rooms in use on Saturday.

Attic sprinklers torn off by the high winds caused water damage on the floor and walls of the top three guest room floors.  Crowne Plaza Louisville moved impacted guests to the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville and some remained there over the weekend.

A day after the storm, water was still dripping from the walls. Wallpaper and bedding had been stripped, all soaked and ruined when a storm ripped chunks of the roofing from the hotel.

Debra Sugiyama was in town from Michigan for a conference. When the storm hit, she thought she’d be able to run outside and pull her car around to pick up the rest of her group and head to dinner. But, she wasn’t ready for what she faced when she stepped outside.

“I saw a funnel cloud come down right in front of me,” Sugiyama said, “It was full of hail and spinning and then I saw the debris start and the doors on that end of the building went the wrong way and it looked like a vacuum came in, so I just started running down the hallway the other way.”

Debris from the roof shattered windshields and crushed and dented cars in the parking lot. Approximately 60 cars sustained damage in the parking lot.  15 of those vehicles were heavily damaged. 

Sugiyama’s was right in the middle of the damage.

“It looks like a bear attacked it. Or a wolverine, you know, the X-Men. The claws, even the glass on it looks like a wolverine attacked it,” Sugiyama described. 

The wind was so violent; it set off the hotel’s internal sprinkler system, drenching rooms on four floors. Guests staying in those rooms were shuttled to the Galt House downtown.

“We’re just working hard to get our hotel back in place because we do have a busy summer and we want to make sure we have the hotel rooms for the guests coming into the state of Kentucky and Louisville,” Marketing Coordinator for the Crowne Plaza Rita Reedy said.

The roof will be waterproofed over the weekend and repairs will be complete within the next three to five weeks. By Wednesday of next week, all rooms in the hotel should be reopened.