Sullivan County

Federal assessor tours flood damage

Federal assessor tours flood damage

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Help may be on the way for flood victims in Kingsport and Sullivan County.

We've learned a representative from the federal government was on hand Thursday to take a look at the damage himself.

Shirley Marshall and her family spent the day filling up their second dumpster full of flood debris. "It went through my house. It ruined my carpet. I had to move everything out for them to strip it. I had five foot of water in my basement," Marshall told News 5.

The damage to her home is costly. "It's going to cost anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000 to fix it," Marshall added.

But she might get some help from the U.S. Small Business Association's disaster relief program.

A team member came out to look at her damage as well as others across the area, from hard-hit Lucy Road to Kingsley Avenue and Fedderson Street.

"This is unprecedented," said Jim Bean, Sullivan County EMA Director.

Bean told News 5 normally, federal agents don't make these 'house calls' to affected regions. "We are borderline to where we could possibly set up what's known as SBA loans, which are low interest long-term loans through the Small Business [Administration]," Bean said.

Downtown Kingsport is continuing the cleanup process as well. Officials have told us in the past none of the businesses had any flood insurance, but they're still left with a big mess. "We had to rip out the carpet in both businesses. The sheetrock at least up to a level of two feet is having to be ripped out and replaced," said Stephen Todd, who owns a building at the corner of Center Street and Market Street that was hit hard by flooding.

We found out it's the downtown that the federal assessor will take into special consideration. "We had so many businesses that were hit based on their inventory. That's typically not something that's looked at," said Bean.

While the $8.6 million dollars in damage it takes for individual public assistance to likely won't be met, anything like a reasonable loan would help by leaps and bounds. "Anything we could get to get us back going would be a big help," said Todd.

"Oh, it would be wonderful. It would be," Marshall said with tears in her eyes.

Jim Bean went on to tell us at least 25 homes or businesses must sustain 40 percent of uninsured damage to qualify for the SBA loans.

Bean believes that our area has at least 28 buildings that fall into that category.

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