WILLIAMSTOWN -- At least two hundred families are displaced after The Spruces Mobile Home Park flooded during Tropical Storm Irene on Sunday.
Building Commissioner Michael J. Card said Monday all homes in the park are "functionally unoccupiable" until further notice, meaning they are uninhabitable.
He said the water that came into the park during the storm was deep enough to seep into electrical boxes of homes, and in some cases, pull the boxes away from the boards where they were attached.
In addition, the water bent -- and pulled off -- gas lines from under homes, he said.
"We're not in a position to turn the electricity and gas back on. We need plumbers and electricians to come in andfix the problems," he said. "The majority of homes have numerous things wrong with them."
In many cases, water was above the floor of a home, which means the state sanitary code would also have to be looked at, he said.
While the several feet of water that flowed into The Spruces had receded Monday morning, a layer of silt and mud coated lawns, roads and driveways. Debris including stairs, decks, planters, lawn ornaments and furniture was strewn across the park.
Residents of the park were allowed to return to their homes Monday to retrieve possessions and pets. Police officers, town officials, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and management of The Spruces were on hand to escort residents in and out of the
"This is a horrible disaster," said Cynthia Clermont-Rebello, president of The Spruces' Tenants Association.
While the home she and her husband, David, own on Champagne Avenue was in pretty good shape, many other residents weren't as lucky.
"Everything is covered in mud," said Ruth Witherell of Nutmeg Lane, sobbing.
Despite being able to retrieve some personal belongs, including undamaged photographs of her late husband and two late sons, she was without a clean pair of shoes.
Brent Walden, who had to be rescued from The Spruces Sunday afternoon, didn't expect the water to get as high at it did.
"It was much worse than I thought it would be. I never expected it to get into my home or truck," he said. When firefighters came to get him by boat, there were 10 inches of water inside his home on Emerald Lane.
While many people who evacuated The Spruces in preparation for the storm are staying with family or friends, town officials met Monday afternoon to try to find accommodations for 10 people and seven animals that remained at the emergency shelter at the elementary school.
The Berkshire County Chapter of the Red Cross mobilized a shelter team to bring cots, blankets, food, water and other supplies to Williamstown following a request by town officials.
Town Manager Peter L. Fohlin said Monday afternoon the town is potentially facing somewhere between 25 and 50 people looking for shelter.
Officials with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency arrived at the park Monday afternoon, but were only there to assess damage and were unable to provide assistance to town officials in finding places for residents to stay.
Fohlin said to MEMA officials, "I guess God helps those who helps themselves, and we'll help ourselves."
Kimberly Purcelli, regional property manager for Morgan Management, said residents will be contacted once park management knows what the next steps are.
In order for residents to be contacted, they're asked to call 413-458-8104, which will connect them directly to Wheel Estates in North Adams, she said. That office will take their name, address at The Spruces and contact information.
Morgan Management, which owns seven properties in Massachusetts, doesn't have the resources to house Spruces residents at those properties.
"There is absolutely nothing we can do in that respect, which is heartbreaking for us," Purcelli said.
To reach Meghan Foley,