Claiborne County flood victims still trying to repair damage

Claiborne County flood victims still trying to repair damage

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By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

HARROGATE (WATE) - Flood damage in Claiborne County can still be seen more than two months after the water receded.

The town of Harrogate was hit hard by the June 20 flood.

Tommy and Debbie Shackleford's home is not in a flood zone, but they found it was at the water's edge.

It was two weeks before the water receded, but despite extensive damage they couldn't get a FEMA grant for repairs.

The Shackleford's front porch is littered with hardwood flooring and new floor tiles yet to be installed. Tommy says he has worked tirelessly since flood waters rushed around and through his home in June.

"You spend all of your life working hard to fix the place up, then it gets took away," he reflected.

When 6 News visited the Shacklefords on June 28, their back yard looked like a lake, but it was full of contaminated water runoff.

"At least the water is gone," Tommy said Monday. "It was a mess. It's looking a lot better. We're fixing to lift our house up and see if we can get that out of the water."

Heavy rain on Labor Day has again delayed the progress.

Emergency officials believe the Shacklefords and many other Claiborne County residents had enough damage to warrant help from the federal and state government.

"Unfortunately, we had the preliminary assessment [FEMA\ declined it," explained Claiborne County Emergency Management Director David Breeding. "We asked for a reassessment. We spent about 15-16 hours with them that day and they still declined it."

Breeding said compared to recent widespread tornado damage in other states, Claiborne County's flood damage was not bad enough for individual federal aid.

The news was not good for Tommy Shackleford. "It means probably a lot of years to get it fixed back, a lot of hard work." They can't afford to pack up and move, so the Shacklefords are gutting part of their home, and hoping for the best.

"We're going to have to replace some of the floors where it's rotted," said Tommy Shackleford. "The walls is kind of rotted, and we've been trying to kill the mold and stuff just so we can live here."

The couple has applied for a low interest federal loan, and were awaiting a response Monday.

Claiborne County received a disaster declaration that makes the county eligible for public assistance. That means the county can be re-imbursed for repairs to flood-damaged roads.

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