Hail storm victims fill local auto body shops

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 26 at 7:41 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

HARVEY, La. - It is now the storm after the storm for victims of Sunday's hail storm on the Westbank.

Tuesday, there were long lines of damaged and pock-marked vehicles waiting in line at body shops in the communities of Harvey and Marrero.

"As you can see all of these little dents from hail storm," said Fred Reiser from Marrero. "I was lucky it didn't break any of the windshields. That would have caused even more damage. I got dents on the roof."

"Messed it all up," said Cynthia LaMothe who was visiting a friend in Harvey when her car got pelted with hail the size of golf balls. "My windshield is all broken and the top is all messed up, all around the sides."

The owner of California Customs Collision Center on Manhattan Blvd, Bruce McKay says he brought in extra help, including his wife to respond to the crush of customers with storm damage.

"I had three cars that got hammered at my own house and I walked outside and I saw what everybody else saw and I realized the next morning what it was going to be like so got on the phone and rallied our troops together and got reinforcements in the office just to handle the phone calls."

McKay's shop and others across the metro area are now working overtime to repair the storm damage. He expects his business to fix 200 cars a month for the next six months.

Customers waiting for service know it will be a slow process.

"Everyone has to wait patiently until they can get to you because it's all up on the Westbank," said LaMothe.

"Pretty much is going to be a waiting process," said Reiser. "It might be several weeks before we can get the cars in the shop."

McKay recommends that people with damaged vehicles take them to a collision center they know and trust and to avoid the street corner repair shops that always seem to appear after a storm.

"I would highly recommend pick someone who's going to be here tomorrow to deal with any problems you might have," McKay said. "Giving you a lifetime warranty is important, just getting a repair you know somebody is going to stand behind."

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