FEMA Forms Field Office in Columbia

1 decade 1 year 8 months ago Tuesday, March 21 2006 Mar 21, 2006 Tuesday, March 21, 2006 9:36:22 PM CST March 21, 2006 in News

Some help for tornado victims will come from a former furniture store, where FEMA has made the abandoned warehouse its central field office.

"As long as the state needs us, we will be here," said FEMA's Dave Saville.

The recovery is just starting for some victims.

"When you're in a tornado, you don't realize ahead of time everything that connects you with that tornado," explained Robbie Hall. "'Cause you have to contact your insurance, then you have to itemize every item that is in your house."

A twister hit Hall's home in Renick at 9:20 p.m. on Sunday, March 12. His family didn't even have time to take cover in the basement.

Not much remains of their house, and FEMA wants to make sure scam artists don't take the rest. The federal agency already had reports Monday of someone posing as a FEMA inspector.

"What people need to know is that an individual that has a FEMA shirt on does not necessarily have to be a FEMA employee," warned Saville.

FEMA said all inspectors should have a photo identification badge, carry a hand-held computer, and show up by appointment only.

By this Thursday, the former warehouse will house about 200 people to help victims like Hall. FEMA has approved $137,000 in state and federal grants to help Missouri disaster victims.

Call FEMA toll-free at 1-800-621-3362 for more information or to report any scam artists in the area.

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