Oe­cov­ery from Trop­i­cal ptorm iee con­tin­ues one year later

The Ambler Gazette - - POLICEREPORTS - By Thomas Celona and Eric Devlin

Just more than a year ago, qrop­i­cal Storm iee wreaked havoc on the area, un­leash­ing a del­uge of wa­ter DNG OHDYLNJ flRRGHG KRPHV DNG GHYas­tated neigh­bor­hoods in its wake. While the storm is just a mem­ory for most, many fam­i­lies across the county have yet to re­cover from the storm — some of whom live right in the Ambler area.

When area res­i­dents were breath­ing a sigh of re­lief that eu­r­ri­cane frene did not cause the de­struc­tion it was pre­dicted to, qrop­i­cal Storm iee sur­prised the area overnight Sept. 7, 2011, with res­i­dents wak­ing up to flRRGHG URDGZDyV DFURVV WKH DUHD.

With the one-year an­niver­sary of the storm just pass­ing, many res­i­dents are still try­ing to re­cover.

Af­ter the storm hit, more than 3,300 Mont­gomery County res­i­dents reg­is­tered for dis­as­ter as­sis­tance through the Fed­eral bmer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, ac­cord­ing to the Mont­gomery County Re­source and Re­cov­ery Com­mit­tee, a vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to us­ing do­nated funds, re­sources and man­power to ad­dress any lin­ger­ing is­sues from the two storms. qhe com­mit­tee said more than 50 cases of res­i­dents still in need of as­sis­tance from across the county are be­ing re­ported as of Sept. 14, while it es­ti­mates be­tween 200 to 250 Mont­gomery County fam­i­lies may still need help.

qim blbert­son, community outreach co­or­di­na­tor for the Mont­gomery County aepart­ment of mublic Safety and spokesman for the Re­source and Re­cov­ery Com­mit­tee, said the com­mit­tee be­gan tar­get­ing res­i­dents across the county us­ing a spread­sheet that con­sol­i­dated a num­ber of phone num­bers and email ad­dresses from var­i­ous church and vol­un­teer groups to see if they were still in need of as­sis­tance af­ter the storm. ee said vol­un­teers with the com­mit­tee un­dergo dis­as­ter case man­age­ment train­ing and will work with home­own­ers to de­velop a plan WR fix DNy OLNJHULNJ SUREOHPV DNG JHW a home back to nor­mal. mrob­lems such as wa­ter dam­age, wa­ter that still comes into a base­ment af­ter it rains DNG PROG FDN RIWHNWLPHV EH fixHG Ey call­ing the com­mit­tee for help and sched­ul­ing an ap­point­ment to as­sess how ex­ten­sive the is­sue may be.

blbert­son said the aepart­ment of mublic Safety sup­ports the com­mit­tee’s ef­forts be­cause it cre­ated a re­cov­ery frame­work that can be used in fu­ture events to help with re­cov­ery.

For more in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the Re­source and Re­cov­ery Com­mit­tee, call at 215-207-9377 or email mont­core­cov­[email protected]­hoo.com.

fn the lo­cal area, the Orange Av­enue neigh­bor­hood in Ambler Bor­ough and the West Ambler sec­tion of Whit­pain qown­ship were hit hard­est by the storm.

A del­uge of wa­ter swept down 2UDNJH $YHNUH, flRRGLNJ PDNy base­ments and sub­merg­ing cars. au­r­ing the storm, a fuel tank in one home over­turned, caus­ing fuel to seep out into the street and trig­ger­ing a re­sponse from the county eazardous Ma­te­ri­als Re­sponse qeam. More than a month af­ter the storm, many res­i­dents had yet to re­turn to their homes.

A year later, it ap­pears the Orange Av­enue neigh­bor­hood has mostly re­cov­ered from the im­pact of qrop­i­cal Storm iee.

Bor­ough Code bn­force­ment Of­fiFHU 5RN 0yHUV VDLG DOO RI WKH DI­fected houses along Orange Av­enue have been re­paired with only two houses still va­cant, which were al­ready va­cant be­fore the storm. qhe big­gest prob­lem he said were heaters that needed to be re­placed due to ZDWHU GDPDJH IURP flRRGLNJ.

Bor­ough Fi­nance airec­tor Bernie Wo­j­ciechowsk said af­ter eu­r­ri­cane frene, the bor­ough re­ceived A13,259.4S, and af­ter qrop­i­cal Storm iee, it re­ceived A5S,S20.71, both from the menn­syl­va­nia bmer­gency Man­age­ment Agency.

Bor­ough Man­ager Mary Aversa said to her knowl­edge the ma­jor­ity of bor­ough res­i­dents did re­ceive fund­ing.

fn nearby West Ambler — an area ORNJ SURNH WR flRRGLNJ — WKH GDPage was even worse.

qhe storm caused the An­thony Bid­dle Con­trac­tors build­ing, lo­cated at 240 Rail­road Ave., to col­lapse onto the 200 block of Maple Av­enue. Mean­while, the po­lice and fiUH FRPSDNy HYDFUDWHG 11 IDPLlies along Maple Av­enue from their KRPHV DV VWRUP ZDWHU fiOOHG EDVH­ments.

qo­day, the col­lapsed ware­house has yet to be re­built.

“Some re­pairs have been al­ready done and some re­pairs are sched­uled in the very near fu­ture,” Whit­pain qown­ship Man­ager Ro­man mron­czak said.

qem­po­rary fenc­ing lines the out­side of the prop­erty for pub­lic safety, and por­tions of the build­ing are LN WKH SURFHVV RI EHLNJ fiOOHG LN, DF­cord­ing to mron­czak. Ad­di­tion­ally, an­other tem­po­rary wall has to be con­structed, and plans for that wall are just await­ing ar­chi­tect ap­proval.

Con­cern­ing the West Ambler resi- dents who were im­pacted, mron­czak said most have been able to re­turn to nor­mal life as much as is pos­si­ble.

“f think the ma­jor­ity of the re­pairs have been made and peo­ple are back in their homes,” he said. “ft wouldn’t be safe to say they’ve com­pletely re­cov­ered be­cause you can never com­pletely re­cover from some­thing like that. qhey’ve re­cov­ered to the point they’re liv­ing in their homes and as close to nor­mal as pos­si­ble.”

fn the year since qrop­i­cal Storm iee, lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have made VLJNL­fiFDNW HIIRUWV WR WUy WR SUHYHNW an­other storm from wreak­ing havoc on the same scale.

“FRU VWUHDP DNDOyVLV DNG flRRG con­trol, we’ve en­tered into an agree­ment with qem­ple’s Cen­ter for Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties,” mron­czak said, not­ing it’s an in­ter­mu­nic­i­pal agree­ment with Ambler, rp­per aublin and Whit­pain sign­ing onto the study and also work­ing with the Army Corps of bngi­neers. “Some RI WKH VROUWLRNV WR WKH flRRGLNJ ZLOO re­quire work be­yond our town­ship bound­aries.”

qhe storm also played a role in Whit­pain form­ing its West Ambler Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Com­mit­tee, which is fo­cused on ad­dress­ing storm-wa­ter, EURZN­fiHOG DNG TUDOLWy-RI-OLIH LVVUHV in the West Ambler community.

“We’ve re­ceived good ideas from the res­i­dents and the other agen­cies that have at­tended meet­ings,” mron­czak said. “We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work on that project.

“All of these items were re­ally high pri­or­ity projects for the town­ship” prior to qrop­i­cal Storm iee, KH VDLG. “:H’YH KDG flRRGLNJ LVVUHV in West Ambler even be­fore last fall and that was some­thing we wanted to ad­dress.”

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