FEMA: Flooding not serious enough to qualify for help
Flooding in the Mahoning Valley
By Ed Runyan
Linda Beil, Trumbull County’s emergency management agency director, said Monday’s flooding wasn’t serious enough to allow county residents to qualify for financial flood-assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA rules say a county doesn’t qualify for assistance unless at least 25 homes in the county are destroyed or receive major damage, and Trumbull County did not experience that, Beil said.
A large number of people are reporting basement damage and being told their homeowner’s insurance won’t pay for it, Beil said.
For those people to receive FEMA help, the county commissioners would have had to declare the county a disaster area, and the county would have to ask Ohio’s EMA to refer the matter to FEMA.
If FEMA saw fit, it could reimburse homeowners for ruined hot-water tanks or furnaces, she said. One reason Trumbull County doesn’t qualify, she noted, is because FEMA doesn’t count basements as living space, and it provides assistance only for major damage or destruction of living space.
The city of Niles evacuated a part of the Buckeye mobile home park across U.S. Route 422 from the Eastwood Mall on Monday morning because of groundwater flooding, Beil said.
At the time, residents of the park reported having nowhere to go, so the American Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley established a shelter at the Niles Wellness Center in Waddell Park in Niles.
However, no one showed up to use the shelter, said Karen Conklin, executive director of the Red Cross, and it was shut down Tuesday morning.
In Warren on Tuesday, flooding persisted in a low-lying area on South Park Avenue near the Severstal steel mill, resulting in at least three people getting stuck in the high water.
Fire Chief Ken Nussle said the fire department sent an engine to the location twice Tuesday morning — once at 7:31 and once at 9:11 to give motorists a lift out of their car and a ride to dry land. A fire engine has a high clearance, Nussle noted.
One of the vehicles had one person inside. Another had three people. The occupant of a third vehicle got out on his own, so the fire department did not respond to that call, Nussle said.
The city placed barricades around the flooded area warning people to stay out.