Commissioners declared a state of emergency for Seneca County in an emergency meeting Thursday.
Dan Stahl, director of Seneca County Emergency Management Agency, requested the emergency declaration based on the extreme weather Wednesday.
"I've never seen an event like that," Stahl said.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Nick Reiter of Fostoria unloads branches from a truck at Fostoria's brush dump site at Foundation Park Thursday.
Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller asked Stahl what areas were hit hardest, but Stahl was unable to confirm specific locations.
"I think the damage is far greater than we realize at this point," said Stahl.
Declaring a state of emergency gives county and local governments the ability to potentially receive funding from the state and federal governments.
Assistance for residents comes through organizations such as the American Red Cross or Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services.
Areas of the county remain without power, and several AEP transmission lines still are down. Stahl expects it could take up to several days for AEP to restore power to some areas.
Stahl is to make a formal damage assessment and is to contact the National Weather Service for more information on the storm.
The Solid Waste District has offered its services for debris removal for Seneca County township governments and municipalities. For more information, contact Stahl at (419) 447-0266.
Kathy Oliver, director of Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services, said her office has disaster assistance funds available to eligible families. The assistance can cover home repairs, tree removal and food replacement (if not covered by food assistance benefits) up to $500.
Those receiving food assistance who had a power outage lasting more than four hours can receive food replacement benefits if families apply within 10 days.
For information, call JFS at (419) 447-5011.
In Tiffin, Public Works will be picking up limbs and trees free of
charge until July 19. Private homeowners are permitted to leave items on the curb and they will be collected. Call the mayor's office at (419) 448-5401 for more information.
The American Red Cross is assessing the damage from Wednesday's storm and is to provide assistance to those affected.
Free kits used to clean and disinfect areas of the home affected by water will be distributed today noon-4 p.m. at the American Red Cross office in the Tiffin Mall.
The kits come in a five-gallon, reusable plastic bucket and contain items needed to clean areas affected by flood waters, including a mop, broom, gloves, mask, bleach, disinfectant, squeegee, garbage bags and other items.
Cleaning and disinfecting basements and rooms affected by flood waters is important to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause serious health problems.
For Red Cross assistance, call (419) 422-9322.
For displaced citizens, the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express in Tiffin are booked until Saturday.
The Quality Inn has several rooms available at this time. Information can be found online for each hotel.