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Cleveland County wildfire victims get federal assistance
Fire victims in Cleveland County are finally getting Federal assistance.
After the August wildfires, victims in the area were denied assistance from FEMA, but thanks to an appeal by the Governor, over one-million dollars has now been approved.
A Disaster Recovery Center has been set up in Noble, and today was the first day residents could sign up.
"Some of the stories have been pretty devastating," says Cynthia Cowell, with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
"A lot of our clients right now are struggling just to find a place to stay," says Damn Britton, with Catholic Charities.
"A tree had caught on fire and fell on our house, and our house was on fire," says Robert Moore, a victim who remembers the August 4th fire vividly. He says he and his family lost everything. "We didn't take anything with us because we didn't think it was going to burn down."
"There's so many services, as well as voluntary organizations that can help," says Patricia Brach, Public Affairs Officer with FEMA. She says everyone in the area should visit the Recovery Center and apply for FEMA assistance.
People affected by the wildfires now have a place to go where they can ask questions, get information about state, federal and small business aid, get help with completing their paperwork and gather tips and advice on the rebuilding process.
"We can provide up to $200,000 for a homeowner to make repairs," says Cowell, who also notes that SBA can help you purchase personal property that you've lost, like vehicles.
"It's set up so people can meet face-to-face with representatives to get help filling out forms," says Brach. Aside from money, FEMA is also offering referalls for things like farm service or legal counsel. And, volunteer groups like Catholic Charities and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are there to help you sort through it all.
"We walk them through the process of going through the FEMA assistance and finding resources. Sometimes we have resources that are available to us that aren't available to them," says Britton.
It's recommended that you call and register with FEMA before going to the Center. The number is 1-800-621-FEMA. You can also register online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
The Disaster Recovery Center is located at 15601 E. Etowah Road in Noble. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. -- 6 p.m. Saturday, October 6, the Center will be open from 9 a.m -- 6 p.m. Sunday, October 7, the Center will be open from one p.m. -- five p.m. This is the only Sunday they will be open. After this weekend, the Center will also be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. -- 3 p.m.
The only thing you're required to bring is your ID. It is also recommended you bring in any documentation you can, such as an electric bill.
The U.S. Small Business Administration also has centers open in Luther (119 Main St.) and Stillwater (315 W. 8th St.).
Posted: Friday, October 5 2012, 08:02 AM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Tornado watch issued for western, central Oklahoma
May 18, 2013 22:57 GMT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A tornado watch is in effect for western and central Oklahoma.
The weather system brought severe thunderstorms to the Altus and Clinton areas, as well as Harper County late Saturday afternoon. There were no reports of rotation as evening approached but the tornado watch lasts until 11 p.m. Saturday.
The dangerous weather is forecast to continue into Sunday night as the system progresses to the east.
The tornado watch area Saturday stretched from eastern edge of the Panhandle to include the Oklahoma City area.
Forecasters warn that the system could also bring large hail.
The National Weather Service in Norman reports tennis ball-size hail along U.S. 62 near the border of Harmon and Jackson counties in the state's far southwest.
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