Escondido Goodwill Store Badly Damaged in El Niño Storms Reopens

The roof collapsed at the Goodwill store in Escondido in early January, flooding the business and forcing its closure

It’s been two months since a Goodwill store in Escondido was badly damaged during powerful El Niño storms but after closing and rebuilding, the business plans to reopen this Friday.

On Jan. 6, the Goodwill store located at 506 W. Washington Ave., felt the wrath of the heavy rainfall that pummeled San Diego County. That night, after rain had pooled atop roof of the thrift store, the roof collapsed, sending water rushing into the business.

As the roof caved in, chunks of the building flew into the store, the rain soaking the floor, clothing and merchandise inside.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident but the flooded store did have to shut down for business to undergo extensive repairs.

Eight weeks later, the work has been completed and the store plans to reopen to the public, Darlene Cossio, director of communications for Goodwill Industries of San Diego County, told NBC 7.

To her knowledge, Cossio said this has been the longest time period a local Goodwill has closed for repairs – especially due to rain-related damage.

Cossio said several Goodwill employees were displaced during the closure, but they stayed with Goodwill and will be back at work this weekend.

The reopening comes just a few days before another major El Niño-fueled storm is forecasted to hit the county.

Goodwill staffers said they thought they did everything right during the last El Nino storm, which is still very vivid.

"It was raining hard. Windy. There was a 20-foot hole and water was cascading into the store," said store manager Chris Owens.

Owens said the damage was so severe he had no idea when the store would reopen.

“It looked to me, honestly, like a meteor had fell through the ceiling and blew up in the store,” Owens added. “I mean, literally. And it looked like a small Tsunami had came through here, it was total devastation.”

Fire Battalion Chief Mike Bertrand recommends preparing as much as you can before the next storm.

"It's better to be prepared, make sure your rain gutters are clear that you don't have debris around your house ... go ahead and get sand bags and secure those areas before it happens," he said.

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