Disaster Recovery Center Helps Creek County Wildfire Victims Start Over

Monday, August 27th 2012, 7:11 pm
By: News On 6

FEMA opened a recovery center in Creek County Monday aimed at helping wildfire victims start over. The fires left more than 400 families homeless - many struggling to get back on their feet.

For Sandra Jordan and her husband, finding a new home is an all too familiar feeling.

"This marks the second trailer that has burnt down," said Creek County resident Sandra Jordan.

Three years ago she lost her home in a propane explosion. Three weeks ago, her home was in the path of the wildfires- burning out of control in Creek County.

"I looked out my kitchen window. The trees - it was just like a train," she said.

Sandra is just one of nearly 700 families state wide that are left searching for answers - trying to figure out where to begin and what steps to take to start life all over again.

"I can see getting help, but I can't see getting any help on the inside for me - Iike I'm empty," she said.

On Monday, FEMA opened the doors on a disaster relief center in Mannford, next to the Library. The center is dedicated to answering questions, and helping people get headed on the road to recovery.

"This is a one stop shop," said Michelann Ooten, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. "Sometimes it just helps to sit down and talk to another person."

Michelann Ooten works for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Her organization has partnered with FEMA and the Small Business Administration to help people get the funding they need, through low interest loans.

8/26/2012 Related Story: Disaster Recovery Center To Open Monday In Mannford

If approved, homeowners can qualify for up to $200,000 in relief from the SBA.

"Clothing, furniture, appliances, even a personal automobile if it wasn't covered by insurance," said Gary Colton of the Small Business Administration.

"Do it now while you're thinking of it, don't try to figure out, 'I've got enough money, I don't,' just go ahead and apply, It doesn't' cost anything."

Once approved, an adjuster can be at a sight in less than 24 hours and have money transferred into an account the same day.

It's a step towards normalcy, for a group of Oklahomans that still have a long road ahead of them.

"Everybody has really pulled together, and that's a good thing, and that's what we need to do," said wildfire victim Sandra Jones.

The center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Homeowners, renters, business and nonprofit organizations can register online with www.disasterassistance.gov, through a web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by calling FEMA's toll-free number: 1-800-621 FEMA.

For more information about Small Business Administration loans, call 1-800-659-2955 or go online to www.sba.gov.

For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click on www.fema.gov/disaster/4078 or www.oem.ok.gov. Information can also be accessed via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov.