Sumter Co. won't get help with storm cleanup - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sumter Co. won't get help with storm cleanup

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The state has requested federal disaster assistance for flood damage in 33-Counties, but Sumter County will be on its own cleaning up from Saturday's tornado.

GEMA says, the county has the necessary resources to handle the cleanup, although they were on the ground today helping with assessments.

The clean up has been going on since Saturday when roofs were ripped from homes and trees pushed over. Public Works has asked for additional help to deal with more than two-thousand trees downed when the EF-1 tornado cut along the shore of Lake Blackshear. The county is also trying to help the uninsured.

Eighty-six year old Marie Cresap is still dazed from the EF1 tornado that hit her home Saturday. Police broke the glass around her door to get into the house after her carport collapsed.

"Honey, didn't hear a thing until the police broke in the house," said Cresap. She's been cleaning up since, but can't believe the damage.

"The corner of the house where the beam came down, this was so pretty back here," said Cresap.

The tree at the side of the house now lays on its side out to the lake. She's having another taken down, not wanting to chance further damage, and her car, under the carport, is destroyed.

"We just yesterday got the roof off of it," said Cresap. Marie considers herself fortunate, other's weren't, eight homes were destroyed.

Sheriff Pete Smith says some homeowners have lost jobs, in the poor economy others let insurance lapse, and the county it trying to help as best they can.

"I've told them all if they get the debris as close to the road without being in the road we're going to try and get it removed. We can't do a lot of help them get the trees off the house, that's going to be an insurance issue," said Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith.

GEMA has been stretched thin with natural disasters, but is now on the ground and working on assessments. Most like Marie are taking the damage in stride.

"We can't control what happens to us," said Cresap. Now residents are hopeful insurance will cover the damage or that the county will offer help.

Good Friday's storms caused damage in ten counties. Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine says if residents have questions about a claim or are having difficulty reaching their insurance company they can call his office at 1-800-656-2298.

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