First Alert Weather Alert: Flood Warning expires at 8:00 PM on 4/28, issued at 10:03 AM Bryceville, FL | Callahan, FL | Fernandina Beach, FL | Glen Saint Mary, FL

Free flood cleanup kits

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Updated: 5/06/2013 6:28 pm
MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- Pamela Brown looked at what's left her home on Black Creek and choked back tears.  "My whole upstairs was that deep in water," she said with her hand at her waist.  "It's never been that high."

She says the county came to assess the damage. "I told them, I said man, I got $40,000 in damage, maybe even more."

Then she says an emergency worker broke the bad news. "He said FEMA wouldn't be stepping in. That we have to eat all this."

While the flood damage to the some homes along Black Creek is significant, Emergency Operations Chief Lorin Mock says it's probably not significant enough to warrant State or Federal aid.

He said, "The ability to get a state declaration or a federal declaration requires the emergency to be beyond the capacity of the local government to manage it.  And I don't think we're seeing that in this event at all."

He says 600 homes were damaged last year when Tropical Storm Debbie hit.  But with this storm, early assessments show fewer than 200 damaged homes.

"We are bringing the Red Cross in to it," said Chief Mock.  "We do have our partners in the Mercy Network and other non-profit assistants that will come in.  But in large measure, this is an event that will unfortunately be borne by the homeowners that live in the area."

That's bad news for Brown who doesn't have flood insurance. Like most people who live on Black Creek, she can't even buy it. "No," she said.  "It's all out of our own pocket."

Cleanup will take a while.  To help with that process, the Red Cross is handing out free cleanup kits from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.  You can also pick up one at Fire Station 14 on Everett Avenue.

The EOC says damage assessment teams will probably be working through Wednesday to get an accurate dollar amount.  If you live on Black Creek, and a team hasn't been to your home, report your damage by calling (904) 284-7703.

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