by Sarah Einselen
Cass County emergency management officials and representatives from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security inspected several areas of the county Tuesday to assess the impact of recent rainfall.
Officials accompanied by representatives of U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita’s office looked at some 17 or 18 houses that suffered major damage from flooding along Pipe Creek, Deer Creek and the Wabash River, said Alvin Beckman, Cass County EMA director.
Locations along Lincoln Pike and in Onward also sustained water damage, he said. Trailers located along the Wabash were considered to have sustained major damage if they had water inside them, Beckman added.
“What we did today is being conducted statewide in all the counties where we’ve had the flooding,” Beckman said Tuesday. State officials hope the federal government will designate flooded parts of Indiana as federal disaster areas, he said, and make disaster funding available for homeowners who have to carry out repairs.
Based on the number of homes he’s seen damaged — and the number he’s heard of across the state — Beckman expects the area will get federal disaster designation.
“My gut feeling is there’s going to be enough just because of the severity of what happened over in Kokomo and Howard County,” Beckman said.
He encouraged other homeowners whose residences sustained water damage to call the county EMA office at 574-722-2484 so he can assemble a more comprehensive roundup of the damage.
If the area is declared a federal disaster zone — something that probably won’t happen for one to two weeks — representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will set up a temporary field office in Cass County and begin assisting homeowners with applications for federal disaster assistance, Beckman said.
That usually happens within two to three days of an area being declared a disaster zone, he said.
Should the federal disaster designation be received, local government agencies such as the EMA, highway and streets departments and emergency responders will also be eligible for federal funding to cover the costs of responding to the disaster situation.
In the meantime, Beckman urged residents to dry out their belongings as thoroughly as possible and begin repairs from water damage.
“They are encouraged to go ahead and start cleaning things up, but just document how much time, how much cost was involved in making repairs, stuff like that,” Beckman said.
“If you just had minimal damage, like a carpet got wet, make sure that gets dried completely through, because if you don’t then you start getting into problems with mold.”
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