Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 24, 2012

FEMA rejects disaster relief for Payne County

STILLWATER, Okla. — Payne County residents should keep reporting wildfire damage to the Federal Emergency Management Agency despite the federal agency’s decision Thursday to deny help for residents in Cleveland, Payne and Oklahoma counties, Gov. Mary Fallin said.

“I am extremely disappointed in FEMA’s decision to deny disaster assistance to all Oklahomans who have been tragically impacted by these fires,” Fallin said.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate indicated in a letter to Fallin that the damage in Cleveland, Oklahoma and Payne counties wasn’t severe enough to receive federal assistance.

Fugate’s decision came a day after the White House granted assistance to victims of wildfires in Creek County.

“It seems ridiculous to me that houses lost in fires occurring within the same period, on the same day in some cases, would arbitrarily qualify for aid in some counties while not in others. Mr. Fugate’s letter not only seems bureaucratic, but cruel,” Fallin said.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management reported that FEMA/State damage assessment teams found:

• 63 homes damaged, including 53 destroyed in Payne County. Fifty-nine homes were uninsured.

• 38 homes damaged, including 33 destroyed in Oklahoma County. Thirty-one were uninsured.

• 154 homes damaged, including 141 destroyed in Cleveland County. The number of uninsured homes was 127.

To help build a case for an appeal, all people who sustained wildfire damage to their homes or businesses since July 28 should call 1-800-621-3362 to report damage.

 

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