The floodwater that once surrounded Diane Lyons’ Lisle house and forced her sister to flee by boat is long gone.
But Lyons on Monday still was dealing with the damage caused by the April 18 flood, including a ruined water heater, furnace and air conditioner. Repair crews already had removed all the drywall and carpeting inside her house’s sunken den.
“To me, a house like this is uninhabitable because you can still smell the mold,” said Lyons, who has been staying with a friend in Naperville. “I just can’t live here.”
Meanwhile, Lyons says her homeowner’s insurance won’t pay for the repairs. And she doesn’t have flood insurance.
“I am hoping FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) will help.” she said.
The process of determining whether that will happen began Monday when two preliminary damage assessment teams started their countywide survey of damage in DuPage’s hardest-hit areas.
Marquita Hynes, a FEMA spokeswoman, said the teams — which have representatives from FEMA, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the federal Small Business Administration — are collecting data “to give an overall snapshot of information” that state officials will use to decide if they should ask President Barack Obama for a disaster declaration.
Residents cannot apply for individual relief through FEMA until a disaster declaration is issued.
Other preliminary damage assessment teams were touring Cook and Lake counties on Monday. Hynes said it’s expected to take the teams several days to visit sites in each county and speak with local officials and residents.
Hynes stressed the teams won’t have enough time to visit every property that sustained damage.
“There’s no way we’re going to look at everything right now,” she said.
In Lisle alone, officials said 403 residences and businesses were damaged, including “numerous” houses that are without utilities and are structurally unsound.
Other DuPage communities with a significant number of affected structures include Naperville, Lombard, Villa Park, Winfield and Wheaton.
“The biggest problem we have right now is people getting impatient,” Lisle Mayor Joseph Broda said. “I can understand that wholeheartedly because they have so much to do.”
Broda said he was relieved to see the preliminary damage assessment teams for DuPage start their work in Lisle.
“People are waiting to find out what to do,” he said.
There were huge piles of trash along some of the streets in the Lisle neighborhood that the teams visited. Representatives from the Red Cross were in the area distributing flood cleanup kits to residents.
Homeowner Craig Damian, who has lived in Lisle for more than three decades, said he never had a large amount of water in his basement. During this month’s flood, his basement had six feet of water.
He said he would be surprised if a disaster declaration isn’t issued.
“If they look at the pictures that were taken when it (the flood) happened, there shouldn’t be any doubt at all,” Damian said.
If individuals are eligible for public assistance, they could use it to pay for their uninsured losses, including rental expenses incurred while their homes are being repaired.
“There’s a lot of people who don’t have flood insurance,” said David Gervino, emergency management coordinator for the county’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
DuPage homeowners were eligible for assistance following the floods of July 2010.
Meanwhile, municipalities, townships, park districts and other governmental entities have until Wednesday to submit expense forms to the county for costs related to the flood cleanup.
Government agencies could be eligible for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of expenses for employee overtime and costs of equipment such as boats, public works vehicles, fire trucks and police cars.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.