FEMA Says "No" To Individual Winter Storm Assistance

Monday, March 5th 2007, 9:20 pm
By: News On 6

There is bad news for the many Oklahomans who have damage from the January ice storms. FEMA announced on Monday it will not give help to individual people and businesses. News On 6 reporter Steve Berg talked with one of those individuals and he reports we don't know all of FEMA’s facts and figures, but Ed Clayton knows what the storm cost him.

Ed Clayton says it was kind of a vanishing neighborhood even before the ice storm, mostly lower-income folks, not in the best position to deal with the damage from a massive ice storm. His house was hit by a large tree limb that fell on the roof, cracking some of the rafters in the attic.

"And then the electrical line fell off the house, so we had to pay an electrician to put the electric line on," said Clayton.

All told, Clayton says he's spent $600 on repairs and clean-up.

"But the insurance didn't cover ice storm damages and stuff, so unfortunately, they didn't decide to pay either," he said.

Clayton says he's disappointed by the news about FEMA, but while talking to us, he focused more than once on the help he has received.

"We were hoping that they would help us out, but we're just thankful that we have some of the debris picked up and stuff," Clayton said.

Muskogee's Emergency Management Director Jimmy Moore spent the better part of two weeks touring the damage and says there are some residents who can't possibly pay to fix their houses.

"Y'know I'm sure the Governor is going to ask FEMA to look into it again and appeal it, and hopefully we'll get their minds changed,” he said. “We really need this for our citizens."

Clayton says he'll be hoping for the best.

"Oh yes, most definitely. It would help to be reimbursed," he said.

Governor Brad Henry said he was baffled by FEMA's decision, and says he does plan to make an appeal. Congressman Dan Boren had even stronger language, saying it was "unacceptable" and that it was another disappointment from an agency that he says has continually failed Oklahoma over the past two years.