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Body shop destroyed by water line break in Follansbee

Updated: Friday, August 22 2014, 06:22 PM EDT
FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. – The Wright family has dedicated their lives to their beloved body shop, New Heights, in Follansbee. But after a major waterline break behind their business, they have been advised to lock the building down and not allow anyone in.
Now they left to wonder if they will ever open back up.
"There’s not much left of New Heights Body Shop,” owner Judith Wright said.
The Wright family's lives quickly changed the morning of July 9, when their business was hit by an explosion, and then a wave of water. It was a water line blowing apart, and then pouring into the shop Main Street in Follansbee.
“I was involved in this since I was 15, and now I’m 60 years old,” Charles Wright said. “So this is my whole life, and to watch my whole life get washed down the sewer is very upsetting and very traumatic to me and my family."
That morning when Charles Wright heard water was leaking from his garage, his surveillance system captured what happened outside the building. He found all of their equipment under 3 feet of water. After trying to enter the garage, he got trapped under a truck and sustained some injuries.
As he tried to get the garage door open, water rushed onto W.Va. 2, sweeping away tools and brand new car body parts.
"All of that improvement and the equipment have been devastated by this water leak,” Charles Wright said.
Now the body shop is shut down -- the building condemned.
Next door, their mechanic shop is still open but its involved with damage and cleanup, too. Wright says it's exhausted all of their funds. They've even had to lay off employees.
"It’s just so devastating because of our lives – it’s our lives -- and I care about our customers," Judith Wright said.
Wright says the road has been patched three times in just 30 feet on that road. And he says the road is starting to fall apart behind their business.
Follansbee City Manager John DeStefano did confirm there was a water line break there but did not go into details because he says the city's insurance company is trying to hash things out with the Wright's insurance companies.
"I want the public to know that it was not New Heights’ fault that this happened, and we would be up and running today if it wasn’t for the catastrophe and damage it left on our property," Charles Wright said.
Wright said he had a contractor look at the building and it was determined it needs to come down. The insurance companies will determine who will foot the bill for that.

Body shop destroyed by water line break in Follansbee

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