FEMA opens up an assistance center in Mayes County

Friday, January 27th 2006, 9:46 am
By: News On 6

Help might be on the way for Oklahomans who are still suffering from all those wildfires. FEMA has set up a Disaster Recovery Center in Chouteau, where people can apply for low-interest loans and other assistance.

As news on News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, they definitely say they can use it.

“You just couldn't conceive the horrendous amount of fire." Jo Ann Sheridan remembers the 40-foot-high flames that rushed toward her Wagoner County ranch, destroying her new metal barn and nearly taking her house. "You thought you were going to lose everything you worked your whole life for. We've lost fence, we've lost hay, we've lost wood that we burn in our fireplace, we've lost a lot of things."

At the town hall in Chouteau, they're hoping they can help get some of it back. FEMA has brought together officials from the Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration, and other agencies, hopefully giving people several different options for assistance. "They've been wonderful, so nice, very helpful. Words escape me to describe how nice they've been."

Anyone who had damages from wildfires from November 27th onward can apply. Officials say it's important for people to apply, because it gives the officials the means to ask for a county to be declared a disaster area.

So far, Wagoner County, where the Sheridan’s live, has not been declared one. They’re hoping for some kind of low-interest loan. "I've got to rebuild it somehow, and if they can help with low-interest loans, then that would be great, but I've got to do something (and that's why we're here)."