Area storm victims unlikely to qualify for aid, officials say

11/19/2013
BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tony Haas of American Builders works on the roof of Donald and Linda Hensley’s home in Jerry City. Jerry City and Cloverdale were hit hard by the tornadoes that swept through northwest Ohio.
Tony Haas of American Builders works on the roof of Donald and Linda Hensley’s home in Jerry City. Jerry City and Cloverdale were hit hard by the tornadoes that swept through northwest Ohio.

Government financial aid likely will not be available to repair damage from Sunday’s tornadoes despite widespread destruction of homes and businesses, local officials said.

Bradley Gilbert, director of the Wood County Emergency Management Agency, said he spent two days surveying Perrysburg Township, Jerry City, and other parts of the county for damage.

PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo's clean-up effort

“I can already tell you we don’t have the large impact areas, nothing close to what we had in 2010 in Lake Township,” Mr. Gilbert said. “It’s probably a stretch for any type of state assistance or federal assistance.”

The financial toll of the tornadoes, which plowed through six counties in northwest Ohio, has not been determined.

As of Tuesday, officials in the counties, villages, and cities affected have not asked the state for additional resources.

However, Gov. John Kasich and Nancy Dragani, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, have talked to Cloverdale Mayor Judd Spencer and Jerry City Mayor Brian Orth.

“We’re still monitoring the situation to determine what’s needed. The governor has had personal conversations with local leaders in the affected areas and pledged the help they need,” said Connie Wehrkamp, spokesman for the governor. “At this point, things seem to be progressing the right way and local officials haven’t requested additional resources, but we’re staying in close touch with them from the governor’s office and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and will respond to developments as they arise.”

Siding is wrapped around a tree on Jerry City Road.
Siding is wrapped around a tree on Jerry City Road.

In the Putnam County village of Cloverdale, 42 of 67 homes were damaged, including five that were destroyed, according to the county Office of Public Safety, which estimates it may be several days until power will be restored.

The American Red Cross provided more than 230 meals in Cloverdale and assisted 50 people in Jerry City, Perrysburg Township, Perrysburg, Oregon, and North Baltimore.

The shelter that opened Sunday night at the Oak Haven Residential Center in Cloverdale will stay open until power has been restored to the village.

Of about 4,000 Toledo Edison customers who lost power during the storm, 1,500 were still in the dark Tuesday morning. But most power was expected to be restored by Tuesday night, said Gary Keys, area manager for the utility.

Nearly 50 crews from First Energy subsidiaries in Ohio and West Virgina were called to northwest Ohio to repair the outages. “Most of them are already here,” Mr. Keys said. “We are hoping to be almost at 100 percent by midnight. We still have a few that will run into [today]. We will have crews working all night.”

In Putnam County, 163 customers of AEP-Ohio were without electric service Tuesday, according to the utility’s Web site.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Transportation said the Monroe Welcome Center on northbound I-75 will be closed into the weekend because of storm-related damage. The parking lot has been blocked during the closing.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.