JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Wells Fargo Center in downtown Jacksonville was so badly damaged by water surging out of the St. Johns River during Hurricane Irma on Monday that the building remains closed.
The 37-floor tower, the tallest building in Florida until 1981, remains without power and closed to everyone, including tenants of the building.
An employee, who asked to not be identified, talked about the damage with News4Jax late Thursday.
"There’s water and everything from the storm that messed up the elevators, the lights. Everything from the restaurant to the top floor is messed up," the employee said. "There’s no water damage from the top down to the first floor, but both garages and the basement are flooded.”
News4Jax reporter Scott Johnson covering flooding at the Jacksonville Landing on Monday showed water flowing over Impendent Drive and filling the parking garage under the Wells Fargo building.
A disaster team is currently running machines to pump thousands of gallons of floodwater out of the basement and the garage -- water that has damaged the main electrical system, which provides power to the entire building.
“The water from the river messed everything up in the garages. You can’t even get in there," the employee said. "I don’t know how much damage as far as the walls, but I know the sides are messed up and all the electrical cords in both bottom garages are messed up real bad.”
There's no word on how long it will be before power will be restored and the building is cleaned up. In the meantime, people who work in the building have been told not to go there because it's too dangerous to go inside.