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Flooding catches eye of Taft


Sunday, March 24, 2002

Gov. Bob Taft has declared a state of emergency in Lawrence County in response to this week’s flash flooding.

Taft’s declaration means that homeowners and

businesses will be able to apply for low-interest loans and grants for emergency needs. Taft has asked the U.S. Small Business Administration to assess damage and determine if federal aid is warranted.

Meanwhile, cleanup from this week’s flooding continues throughout the county. Both the village of South Point and Fayette Township will start debris removal for their residents Monday. Fayette Township Trustee Terry Wise says flood victims may call him or another township trustee and request assistance hauling away damaged items, such as

carpeting and furniture.

"Leave it on the side of the road and we’ll pick it up for you," Wise said.

South Point Mayor Bill Gaskin said residents in his community may call his office and arrange assistance. Gaskin added he appreciates the churches, organizations and individual volunteers that lent a hand to a neighbor in need this week.

"I’m thankful for what they’ve done. I hope that the people who needed the help appreciate it, too," he said.

Gaskin said the flooding was primarily the result of getting too much water too quickly.

"We got four or five inches fairly quickly, and it was just more rain than our drains could handle," Gaskin said.

Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Boster says, so far, more than 20 homes have sustained major damage, more than 35 have sustained minor damage, and four were completely destroyed. Four businesses in the Solida Road area also sustained damage.

Other property owners were spared the sight of their belongings washing away, but they could have residual effects of the storm. Boster says homeowners should check to see if their septic tanks and wells were affected, and call his office if they suspect contamination. People may continue to call to arrange a property damage assessment.

Boster also cautioned flood victims against assuming that damaged carpeting and furniture can be simply shampooed and used again. Often, the saturation is so severe that these goods become health hazards.

"We don’t know what all was in that flood water," Boster said. "Your health is not something to fool around with."

Those who have questions about these and other flood-related issues may contact the EMA at 533-4375.