MADRID, N.M. (KRQE) - After a flash flood Sunday, the small town of Madrid still has days of clean-up ahead. Storms there brought not only a river of water through businesses and homes, but also a river of coal from abandoned mines nearby.
Residents say the weekend flash flood reshaped the geography surrounding Madrid, causing an enormous mess and tons of damage with coal-soaked mud seeping everywhere.
After a full day scraping up mud off the Jezebel gallery floor, gallery manager Claudia Cielensky and others still have a long way to go.
“I don't think I'll ever see anything like this ever again here,” said Cielensky. “Nothing's ruined thankfully, but there's definitely some damage to clean up.”
A river of water debris flowed not only into the store's ground floor, but also the basement which saw at least 2 inches of water. The store has been closed since Sunday because of the mess.
"Normally we're only closed two days a year and we're missing at least three or four this week,” said Cielensky.
As if the flood was bad enough, an old relic from the past has made it much worse.
"All the way strolling through here is a river of coal. It goes all the way down into my property and across the street into other properties,” said Lori Lindsey, owner of the Mine Shaft Tavern.
Lindsey says piles of coal from abandoned mines in the mountain towering over Madrid broke loose and flowed down into everyone's property. However, the Tavern felt the worst of it.
“I have multiple ravines like this all the way through my property,” said Lindsey.
Coal-soaked mud flowed into the amphitheater, the performance hall which was preparing for a play, also the Miner Museum. Feet of mud remain caked to the floor inside the museum.
“It's more than just a few scoops of mud in need professional attention,” said Lindsey. “Hopefully, Gov. Susana Martinez will help us get some funds to help the museum.”
Damage is everywhere in Madrid including Cave Road where a bridge is now gone. Residents just hope they can put it all back together.
“People have definitely teamed up and are helping each other out,” said Cielensky.
The Mine Shaft Tavern says it’s waiting to see what insurance will cover. Their scheduled play is actually still on for this weekend. Organizers say this time, they’ll be raising money for flood relief.
As for the coal pilings that washed into Madrid, the New Mexico Environment Department says the coal does not pose any health risks beyond the normal standard residents have been warned of living next to the coal mine.
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