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Wednesday, April 27, 2011
251 Homes Destroyed by Tornado in St Louis County, 70 Houses MISSING, officials say
Tornado destroyed 251 residences in St. Louis County, official says
April 26, 2011
Last Friday's tornado destroyed 251 residences in St. Louis County, Garry Earls, the county's chief operating officer, told the county council Tuesday.
They were among 2,243 residences that inspectors checked after the storm, he said. Seventy of the 251 residences are missing, he said.
Inspectors from the county or some municipalities decided that 592 residences suffered significant structural damage, but can be repaired and 1,298 residences have significant damage, but are habitable. He noted that 102 residences were not classified.
Earls said 13 people were treated for minor injuries and four nursing home patients had to go to hospitals because of the storm.
Later, at the county council meeting, County Executive Charlie Dooley said the injuries were so few because people listened to emergency sirens and heeded warnings on radio and television to take shelter.
The community has worked together to make sure the tornado resulted in the least amount of difficulty as possible, the county executive said.
"We have done a lot, but a lot more has to be done," he said.
Meanwhile, 16 experts from the Federal Emergency Management agency arrived on Tuesday to inspect the damage to determine if the area qualifies for federal disaster aid to individuals. They with state and local experts and officials will begin viewing the damage Wednesday morning.
Next week, federal agency experts will study the damage to determine if the area qualifies for federal assistance to local governments.
The group will break into six teams, Katy Jamboretz of the St Louis County Economic Council who is working other county officials on the visit, said. One team each will go to Bridgeton, Ferguson and Maryland Heights. A team will inspect Berkeley, Dellwood and St. Ann; a team will go to Bellefontaine Neighbors, Moline Acres and Riverview and a team will see Lambert Field, New Melle and unincorporated St. Louis County, she said.
At the council caucus, Earls said that if the damage is severe enough, the area could qualify for federal aid to individuals. He said the federal agency does not have a fixed number on the damage for the county to qualify for such aid. People would have to use their insurance first before receiving aid for such costs as the clean up and repairs to household items and replacement of major appliances, he said.
For local governments to qualify for assistance, the storm would have to leave $7.2 million in costs statewide and $3.3 million in St. Louis County, Earls said. The federal aid would reimburse 75 percent of the local governments' cost.
The aid could pay for such items as debris removal, damage to government facilities and overtime costs for police and firefighters, he said.
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