FEMA teams tour River Region reassessing flood damage

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Congressmen Bobby Bright (D-Montgomery) and Mike Rogers (R-Anniston) both met with FEMA's administrator Craig Fugate at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon. They both appeared encouraged with what they heard.

Today's meeting with Administrator Fugate was productive and insightful into FEMA's decision-making process," Bright said. "Mr. Fugate was receptive to our concerns, and ensured us that he would closely examine any new information in the appeal and quickly make a final decision."

Fugate said he hopes to have a final recommendation from the president within three days of receiving the new report from agents in the field.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came back to the River Region this week to reassess damage and tour homes in Autauga and Montgomery counties damaged by last month's flash floods.

Their return a week after the agency raised the ire of locals for denying individual assistance claims has already marked a difference in approach.

This time inspectors are going inside homes. On their initial inspection FEMA investigators only viewed homes from the outside.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and EMA officials led the way as inspectors walked through 19 homes in the Brighton Estates and Forest Hills communities of Montgomery. The mayor initially said approximately 300 homes would receive visits, but later revised that number to 700 to 900.

"We don't want to rush the process," Strange said when asked for a time table on when inspections would wrap. He said while authorities are looking at the end of the week as a wrap up date, if FEMA needs more time they're committed to it. "We want to have it thorough," Strange added, "because this will be our best and only chance to get assistance for these individuals that certainly need it."

Tuesday was different, however. Inspections started bright and early at 8:00am when some folks were at work. Monday's FEMA visits started in the afternoon when people were home and could explain the damage their homes had sustained in first person.