EMA director: More than 90 homes in county damaged by storms

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The official count from Monday morning’s storms: 17 homes destroyed, 36-40 more homes with major damage, and more than 40 additional homes with minor damage, according to Chilton County Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Collum.

Collum is encouraging anyone whose home sustained damage that is uninsured or underinsured to visit EMA or call the organization at 755-0900 and leave contact information.

Collum and other local officials are hoping for a damage declaration for Chilton County, which would mean grant money would be available to help the recovery efforts.

“You may not think you need any help, but you’re helping somebody else,” Collum said. “The more (people) we get, the more chances we have for a federal declaration.”

The numbers Collum provided do not include property damage suffered by buildings, such as storage sheds, detached from a main structure.

Several businesses were among those affected. The radio tower at WKLF was knocked down. It had been up since 1947, Collum said.

An Alabama Department of Transportation office in Maplesville was damaged, as was Taylor-Made Transportation in Maplesville and A&B Cooling and Heating near Isabella, among others.

Collum said anyone with immediate needs—such as tarps to keep water out of homes with damaged roofs, or help removing downed trees—should call EMA at the number listed above.

“We’ve got a lot of resources if they need that kind of help,” Collum said.

Also, anyone who does not have a place to stay should contact the county Emergency Assistance Center at 502 Enterprise Road in Clanton or 755-9467 or the American Red Cross.

The storms highlighted the importance of the county’s storm shelters, some of which have been opened recently.

Collum said more than 130 people were inside the Maplesville shelter when the storm hit. A tree was blown over onto the shelter, but the structure suffered only minor damage and no one inside was harmed.

Collum said he heard reports that the shelters at Enterprise and Union Grove were not opened before the storms, and said such a case would be a violation of an agreement EMA has with local volunteer firefighters.

“When a watch is issued, the shelters are supposed to be open; when there’s a tornado warning, the shelters are supposed to be manned, with someone keeping track of who’s there,” Collum said.