ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — A man remained missing Monday after flash flooding tore down a historic main street in a picturesque Maryland town and left a community heartbroken at seeing more devastation less than two years after rebuilding from another massive flood.

The missing man – 39-year-old Eddison Hermond of Severn, Maryland – was last seen trying to help a woman rescue her cat behind a restaurant while churning, brown waters ripped through Ellicott City’s flood-prone downtown.

Howard County Police Chief Gary Gardner said the missing National Guard member and Air Force veteran had been with a group at the La Palapa Grill & Cantina.

He said Hermond was trying to help others by holding a door open as brown floodwaters coursed through the restaurant when a woman approached, desperately trying to rescue her pet just outside.

“He, along with some other folks, went back to assist her and unfortunately during that effort they saw him go under the water and not surface,” Gardner told reporters, adding that the others made it out of the area safely.

Simon Cortes, who owns the restaurant, described Hermond as “a super nice guy,” who was frequently out in the community showing support when it worked to rebuild from the devastating flooding that ravaged the former mill town in July 2016.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said that his immediate priorities are finding the missing man and assessing the condition of damaged buildings that housed shops, restaurants and families.

The Main Street area remained blocked off Monday, even to residents and business owners, as teams of authorities and engineers surveyed the mess.

“If you look at the devastation and the damage, I would certainly say it’s worse than 2016,” Kittleman said.

“We’ve had areas that were not even damaged at all two years ago terribly damaged this time.”

Ellicott City certainly got the worst of it. But torrential rains led to such bad flooding in Baltimore County, Baltimore City and the capital of Annapolis that Gov. Larry Hogan on Sunday declared a state of emergency statewide in order to better coordinate support and assistance.

With floodwaters receding Monday, revealing the damage in Ellicott City, residents and business owners could see the scope of the next challenge ahead of them:

They face another mammoth cleanup and another daunting comeback.

Local resident Nathan Sowers, owner of the River House Pizza Co., an outdoor eatery in the old mill town’s business district, said that after all the hard work rebuilding from the destructive 2016 flood he’s feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of tackling yet another revival.

Asked whether he’s committed to building back anew he said: “We’ll see. It takes a lot of money and a lot of time.”

But Sowers also said he saw other hard-hit locals laughing and joking about their troubles Monday morning – a good sign the Maryland town will launch yet another rebirth from raging floodwaters.

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