Tow trucks called to remove vehicles from flooded Vinoy parking garage

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Heavy rain Thursday evening caused the lower level of the Vinoy hotel’s valet garage to flood.

Close to 28 vehicles were either heavily damaged or destroyed.

After lots of waiting, some frustrated guests were escorted into the garage Friday to get a first look at the damage.

Mechanics say if a car is submerged in water, the worst thing you can do is start the engine, which can suck more water into the engine. That may be why a steady flow of tow trucks was in and out of the garage Friday.

The rain came down fast and hard Thursday evening, filling the lower level of the garage halfway with water.

No one was allowed inside until Friday afternoon, after the water had completely receded.

%INLINE%It’s unclear if there was an issue with a drain or sump pump. Vinoy officials said they are still looking into it.

As for the street flooding, Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted that the wastewater system performed well, but added the storm happened during high tide.

The issue at hand now is getting the damaged or destroyed cars out of the garage.

The general manager of the Vinoy Renaissance Marriott Hotel issued the following statement Friday:

A flooding incident occurred in the lower level hotel garage yesterday evening. This issue was related to environmental conditions and impacted several cars. Together with our long-standing valet partner, we are working to accommodate guests’ needs and concerns, assess damages and restore normal garage operations as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the resort remains open and fully operational. We sincerely regret any inconvenience.