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Keyword: flood

The deadline is approaching for victims of the Memorial Day flooding to apply for relief for physical property damage.

 Applications for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration must be returned by September 24, 2018.

About SBA Assistance

The SBA made the loans available in response to a letter from Maryland Go. Larry Hogan requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA for portions of Maryland affected by the May 27 weather event.

The SBA's press release on these loans is available here.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million through the SBA to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.  Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered physical property damage.

Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.

Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.  Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.61 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Deadlines

The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is September 24, 2018.

The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 25, 2019.

How to Apply

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Loan applications can be downloaded at sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Today, August 1, marks the 47th anniversary of the Baltimore County Fire Service 's most tragic day, when four firefighters and four civilians were swept to their deaths in a flash flood in eastern Baltimore County.

The fallen are Charles Hopwood, 42 and Douglas Mueller, 18, of the Cowenton Volunteer Fire Department [now the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Co.]; and Milton DeSombre, 49, and Warren Schaeffer, 23, of the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department.

"Please take a moment today to remember their sacrifice," said Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III. "The passage of nearly five decades does not in any way lessen the magnitude of the heroism on display that day."

Two other Cowenton firefighters, Robert Carr and William Barton, survived but were injured. Robert Carr, who was swept away early in the incident, was rescued after clinging to a telephone pole for 3 1/2 hours.

The disaster culminated in the evening of August 1, 1971. All day, severe thunderstorms carrying torrential rain -- storms reminiscent of the ones the County has endured this year -- tore through the east side of the County. These storms caused widespread flooding and destruction. According to BCoFD's official report on the incident, career and volunteer fire crews, police and citizens all worked furiously to respond to calls for rescue and assistance -- many involving people trapped in vehicles.

Bean Creek at Philadelphia Road and Bush Street

By evening, Bean Creek, a tributary of the Big Gunpowder Falls and normally a small, quiet stream running under Philadelphia Road, "was a raging monster because of the heavy rains and it had overflowed its banks," according to the BCoFD report.

Fire crews responded to numerous calls in the area of Philadelphia Road and Bush Street when a white, four-door Chevy automobile carrying four people drove into rushing, rising floodwaters until the car stalled. The official report notes that the floodwaters quickly rose above the bumper, and "the firemen had difficulty keeping their footing."

Cowenton's Robert Carr -- the firefighter who survived by clinging to a telephone pole  -- washed away first.

The report describes the moment when the firefighters, the Chevy and its occupants and a tow truck driver who stopped to help were dragged under:

"When towing resumed a second time, the water was near hood level. The car then raised up and floated approximately 30 feet sideways and resettled. The occupants were still in the car. The firefighters and tow truck operator were still hanging onto the car. Mr. Woods (the driver) hollered to the occupants inside the car to jump out. By this time the water was over their laps. They opened both doors on the left side and jumped into the flood water."

A firefighter who survived the incident said he saw "the car and occupants, firemen and the tow truck driver, being washed away. The car crested on what seemed to be a wave, washed over the now river-like stream and went under. All of the would-be rescuers went in with the car. The front end of the car bobbed to the surface for a few seconds and then disappeared down through the trees." The time was 8:35 p.m.

Of 10 people carried away by the floodwaters, eight lost their lives: The four firefighters, the tow truck driver and three of the four occupants of the car (a couple, both 49, and a 44-year-old man).

Lessons for Today

This terrible incident is often attributed -- incorrectly -- to Hurricane Agnes, which occurred nearly a year later, in June 1972.

The August 1, 1971 disaster was not part of any named tropical storm. Rather, it was the product of a single stalled thunderstorm, the kind that occur with regularity in the mid-Atlantic and similar to the storms and heavy rains that recently devastated nearby Ellicott City and areas of western Baltimore County and created dangerous conditions throughout the region.

"For today's first responders and residents, the 1971 tragedy carries important lessons," Chief Preis said. "It reminds us of the unpredictability of weather, that even 'routine' storms can be life-threatening and that caution, preparation and good decision making really can mean the difference between life and death."

Baltimore County needs information from victims of the Memorial Day weekend flooding in order to seek federal aid, including low-interest disaster loans.

Federal aid is available only after disaster-stricken jurisdictions document damages and meet certain loss thresholds. Baltimore County's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is beginning this documentation process for the Memorial Day storm.

Emergency Management officials need information from homeowners, renters and businesses who suffered uninsured or grossly under-insured damage to buildings, land, personal property or business inventories. Such victims of the recent flooding should contact emergencymanagement@baltimorecountymd.gov.

The  deadline for providing information to Emergency Management officials is Friday, June 29, 2018.

Storm victims should provide:

  • Location of the affected properties
  • Type of loss
  • Value of property affected
  • Estimated losses and the extent to which they were covered by insurance
  • Contact information

The Documentation Process

Storm victims should note that, in providing this information, they are not applying for aid.

Rather, they are assisting Emergency Management officials with the documentation needed for Baltimore County to qualify for federal aid. Storm victims' information will be provided to the U.S. Small Business Administration, which will work with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and Baltimore County Emergency Management to determine if the losses are significant enough to qualify for the Disaster Loan Program.

The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to business of all sizes, private and non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. If the SBA approves Baltimore County for disaster aid, loans may be used to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery, equipment, inventory and business assets damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017