LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Lockport business owner Joshua Lopez was at his Pine Street business on Tuesday when flooding struck neighborhoods all over the city.
“I had customers in there, and one of them told me the ceiling was leaking, so I had everyone move to the retail side for safety,” Lopez, who owns TOYS from LO and Lo’s Arcade Mania at 54 Pine St. said.
Lopez said maintenance was over to fix the leak in minutes, so he ran home to Trowbridge Street to check on his mother, who is bedbound, and his downstairs apartment.
“From down the road, I could see there was a foot or two of water in my yard and all in front of the house in the road,” Lopez recalled. “I ran into the house and screamed to my mom- she was okay- and then I went to enter my apartment, and water was already up to the third stair.”
He scrambled to rescue his dog, who was in her crate.
“I was swimming through sewer water that’s coming up through my toilet and shower,” Lopez said.
He was able to get the dog to safety – but unfortunately, everything else in the apartment Lopez shares with his wife and children was a loss.
“I literally watched my whole life disappear as the water rose to four and a half, five feet,” he said.
On Thursday morning, the things they were able to salvage from the apartment were outside on the driveway, drying on a tarp.
“Everything that didn’t get wet in full is contaminated with human feces,” Lopez added. “I don’t know what to do.”
Since the apartment is located in Lopez’s brother’s home, they didn’t have renters’ insurance.
The Lockport community is stepping up to help Lopez.
Lopez opened his toy and collectible store – and recently, added a retro arcade – as a way to give youth in the Lockport community a safe place to hang out.
“As a human, we all just need to do what’s right – I didn’t have the best life, but now that God has blessed me with a little something, I try to give back as much as I can,” Lopez said. “Everything I’ve done with my store, everything I do for the community, it’s done because I want to do it, not done expecting anything back.”