Posted: Jun 24, 2011 6:58 AM by Melissa Anderson (KXLH Helena)
Updated: Jun 24, 2011 9:22 AM
HELENA- Flood victims are pleading their case to FEMA this week as federal agencies have teams in several Montana cities, surveying flood damage. We caught up with one team as they were getting a first hand-look at the mess.
Lewis and Clark is among 14 counties and one tribal reservation undergoing preliminary flood damage assessments by FEMA.
The county Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator joined FEMA, State and SBA representatives in the field survey, traveling door-to-door to areas most ravaged by the flooding.
They were greeted by somewhat disgruntled homeowners who are still pumping gallons of water out of their basements.
"We got hit first on may 27th and this has been going on ever since." said a flooded homeowner Kathy Sampson on Kerr and Forestvale Road.
The addresses visited were mainly homeowners who filled out damage reports and turned them into the county.
"I received about 50 homeowners estimated damage assistance forms. And we're doing preliminary damage assessment on homes with flooded basements in the West Valley," Lewis & Clark County DEC Coordinator Paul Spengler said.
Each homeowner shared details of their flooding, but you didn't have to look too far to see the damage.
"When those giant cracks happened that's when my neighbor Ralph Peck said 'We've got to get water in the basement. We've got to let it flood some to get some weight down there'," said homeowner Amanda Plona.
"We are not giving out money we are just doing an assessment to see if FEMA will be able to come in and then some grant money available depending on," FEMA Damage Assessor Donna Johnson of Ronan explained.
"The state's role in this is we requested FEMA come in and assist us with these preliminary damage assessments," added State DES Information Officer Monique Lay. "So we've got four teams throughout the state."
For many homeowners, water continues to flow out of homes and is now settling into ponds and in ditches and roadways.
"I looked out one morning and I had a water puddle out here." remembers Felix Tuggles. " And you can stick a three-foot rod all the way down in there with your hand."
And the one thing that almost all of them have in common, insurance won't cover ground water flooding.
"It's kind of like a no win situation as far as getting flood insurance because we probably would never get water up here," commented Forestvale Road flood victim Howard Carney.
Click here to learn more about what FEMA has available for Montana flooding victims.