Cookson Fire Chief Says Community Will Overcome Tornado Damage
COOKSON, Oklahoma - Cookson-area residents wrapped up a community meeting and a disaster update after learning that they do not have enough damage to quality for FEMA assistance. The meeting happened Friday night at the Cookson Fire Department.
This comes two weeks after a November 30th tornado. Cookson Fire Chief Tim Knight said the reason behind the denial is because there is not enough damage to quality.
"What really affected us on that was the number of secondary homes - the vacation homes that we have that were destroyed, they could only count and include in their figures the full-time residents" said Fire Chief Tim Knight of the Cookson Fire Department.
But Knight said help is coming.
He said they are in the process of bringing in Oklahoma Insurance Commission and the Small Business Administration to offer financial assistance to people and businesses that were affected.
"They are gonna work through the process of filing claims and trying to get things back to normal so we do have the majority of the loss were insured," said Fire Chief Tim Knight of the Cookson Fire Department.
Knight also said they are working with the Department of Environmental Quality and disaster relief teams to help clear some of the damage.
"Individuals that don't have the means to take out trees and pick up a lot of the debris left over from their homes," said Fire Chief Knight.
Knight said Oklahomans are very resilient and is confident in his community.
"It was all about teamwork and you drill and you train for things like this and when it comes down its good to see everyone jump in and do what has to be done" said Chief Knight.
The Cookson Fire Department said they are going to be posting updates to their Facebook page.
FEMA released the following statement:
Vanessa Winans Public Affairs Specialist for FEMA Region 6 said that the Small Business Administration “is one of the primary federal government partners in disaster recovery for individuals and businesses. In fact, the majority of individual assistance after federally declared disasters comes from the SBA, not FEMA”.
She also said that “additionally, FEMA did not turn down a request for assistance. Along with our local, tribal and state partners, FEMA conducted preliminary damage assessments in the affected areas. Afterwards, the state and tribe chose not to request a disaster declaration for individual assistance from FEMA. Although we cannot speak for another agency, it’s our understanding that the state and the tribal nation wanted to help the largest number of people possible; in this case, that can best be done with the request to the SBA.”
Winans said “while the fire Chief is correct that there were a number of secondary homes in the area, and FEMA can’t help with secondary homes.”
“The following link will help you learn more about the process and the criteria we consider for both Individual and Public Assistance declarations: https://www.fema.gov/disaster-declaration-process “ said Winans.