Flood water ruins dozens of cars at Vinoy valet parking garage

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Dozens of hotel guests at the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, have waterlogged, and likely totaled cars.

The valet parking area filled with stormwater during an afternoon downpour.

“If it’s got water in it, I know they’re no good,” said car owner Dennis DeLong.

Visiting St. Pete for a conference, DeLong discovered his 2019 Honda Ridgeline is among the dozens of cars swamped by floodwater.

“It’s just frustrating cause we’re supposed to go tomorrow and leave for a 10-day vacation at Sanibel Island. So now we’re stuck and we don’t know what’s going on,” said DeLong.

And he doesn’t know if his vacation gear is ruined, along with his SUV.

“They’ve asked people not to go in and I understand that. But even going in there, you don’t know if there’s electric or anything that could happen to you,” he said.

Some owners managed to get their cars out of the standing water, only to stall out on the driveway.

Just up the road, on Snell Isle, the sudden downpour inundated Snell Isle Boulevard. St. Petersburg Fire-Rescue had to help the occupants of three cars after they stalled out in the high water.

“It was kind of like a flash flood.  And I’m pretty prepared most of the time.  But this is a first for me,” said Mary Thomas.

Rescue crews pulled Thomas from a flooded out Cadillac. They had to wait for the water to recede.

Neighbors said this kind of flooding is not the norm. 

“Sometimes during hurricanes, but not just an afternoon heavy shower. It was this like this last week, only today was worse,” said John McQuillan.

Back at the flooded Vinoy parking garage, the valet parking company, 717 parking and hotel management are just starting to sort out the details of dealing with multiple insurance claims.

The hotel General Manager Barbara Readey said the Vinoy is arranging alternative transportation for guests.

It is still assessing what happened and how to help everyone involved.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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