|(Photos by Dawn Davis, National Park Service)|
Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor remains closed after it took a beating from Hurricane Irma. Water inside the fort dropped enough for a National Park Service team to enter the grounds Wednesday and begin evaluating the interior. Dawn Davis, public affairs specialist at Fort Sumter, provided an update to the Picket. On Friday, she said there was no timetable yet for the site to reopen.
Q. Can you tell me about the status of artifacts and exhibits within Fort Sumter?
A. The physical brick fort, the cannon and museum on the island do not appear to be damaged. The cannon will need to be washed off with fresh water since the fort was flooded. The remains of the brick fort appear in good shape despite the debris and remaining water in the fort. The artifacts and museum are good, AC is on and there are no signs of any leaks. We have power in the fort.
|Debris at entrance to fort interior|
Q. Do you know whether Sumter in recent years has seen this level of water?
A. We have had flooding out there from (Hurricane) Matthew and the flooding event in October 2015. There is more damage with this event and there appears to be more water in the fort as well. Looks like the we had 3-4 feet of water in the fort.
Q. Can you describe exactly what infrastructure and other damage has been seen during initial assessments? Is there much flooding within the walls?
A. We have dock railings down. Additionally, we do not have power on the dock. There appears to be damage to the accessible lift (the primary way for visitors to disembark the tour boat). The power box for the lift was pushed into the dock and covered in saltwater. We do not know if this will work since there is no power on the dock. The infrastructure for the restrooms has been damaged. We are continuing to conduct assessments on the fort and dock to determine the extent of the damage.