Congressman tours storm site but makes no aid commitment

Monday, April 20, 2009 11:31 AM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 9:03 PM
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Rep. John Barrow, whose 12th Congressional District includes most of Richmond County, said today he would see what he could do to get financial aid to repair tornado damage, but was reluctant to make any promises.

Mr. Barrow toured parts of south Augusta this morning to look at damage from the April 10 tornado.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver, Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason, City Commissioner J.R. Hatney and Fire Chief Howard "Bubba" Willis showed Mr. Barrow damaged homes on Bungalow Road and in the Cherry Hill neighborhood off Barton Chapel Road.

Mr. Barrow was in Augusta this morning for a tour of Phinizy Swamp, and the mayor's office asked him to also look at storm damage.

The group walked down a street in Cherry Hill with house roofs covered in blue tarp and the sounds of chainsaws and in the background.

They showed Mr. Barrow a brick home destroyed by the storm. Mr. Mason said the family in the house next door did not see the insurance adjustor until today.

"We can't ignore what's happened here," Mr. Mason said. "We're talking about total devastation."

Mr. Mason said the city also had trouble finding lodging for the victims because the storm happened during Masters Week.

Mr. Mason said he knows Mr. Barrow is a federal official, but that he's hoping as a Georgia congressman he can wield influence with both the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.

Mr. Barrow said the area might be eligible for some federal loans, but stopped short of making any commitments.

"I can't dictate anything," he said. "I'm just here to monitor."

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