A ‘Flood' of Car-Towing Business

Proving that almost anything can turn out to be good business for someone, even as business ground to a halt around much of New England Wednesday during a series of downpours, it proved a bonanza for some industries – like automotive shops called to tow, fix, and scrap flooded-out cars.

"The calls started coming in: We need another. We need another. So at one point we, had five or six trucks there at one time," Robert Lopez of Exceptional Auto Body & Repair in Framingham, said Thursday morning as he recalled the incidents of 24 hours earlier.

Lopez's shop was called to tow away seven cars damage by severe flooding at the interchange of Route 9 and Route 126.

"Every car had water up to the seats, so any kind of internal water damage, there's a whole lot of electrical components inside, airbags, modules, computers," Lopez said. "With the rust that's going to happen to these components, the cars would be definitely a total loss."

Among the vehicles in his lot was a black Mazda owned by Richard Canale of Lexington, who teaches computer technology at Massachusetts Bay Community College and was en route from their Framingham campus to their Wellesley campus when he reached that interchange.

"I think: I don't want to do this. I think: I want to back up," Canale said. "I put it in reverse, and all of a sudden, the water just started coming up and the car started floating."

"It came up to the dashboard, so when I looked at the car in the shop to take my belongings out, you know, the cupholders were full of water,
Canale said.

Also out of a car is Joanna Tsagaroulis of Boston's Roslindale neighborhood. She was making a delivery in Waltham along Second Avenue when she got stopped behind a couple of other cars.

"The street was clear, and all of a sudden, in two seconds, it just got swamped up with water," Tsagaroulis said.

Her 2015 Toyota Camry was quickly destroyed.

"How the sea moves is how the cars were moving: Tilting back and forth," Tsagaroulis recalled on Wednesday. "My car was tilting, and it was going to swamp over, and the fireman had to literally jolt the door and open the door because the whole car just got flooded in with water."

For Canale, it also became a lesson in the value of good insurance. After an earlier accident, he and his wife bought a policy that will cover the total loss of his 2010 Mazda as if it were a year younger and with half as much mileage, meaning he stands to get thousands more dollars to buy a replcement vehicle.

With videographers Michael Bennett and Bob Ricci

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