Wilbraham officials looking for state aid to help with flooding damage | News
WILBRAHAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Many western Massachusetts communities are still cleaning up from the intense flooding over the weekend and one local state legislator is pushing to get additional funding for one particular town.
Wilbraham Fire Chief Michael Andrews told us that his crews have been active all week responding to water emergency calls. Now, the town is pushing for additional help from Governor Charlie Baker.
“I think that’s why I worked all day because I couldn’t afford to lose everything,” said Lori Kuhn of Wilbraham.
Kuhn told Western Mass News that she worked for 13 hours preparing wet vacuums, fans, and hoses, but she’s still dealing with damage in the basement.
“There’s just so much of this that won’t be covered by insurance,” Kuhn explained.
Andrews said his department has responded to over 50 calls and pumped over 30 basements since Sunday and they were still busy on Wednesday.
“We do have some pumps that are still out there and crews are responding to houses to evacuate some more water,” Andrews said.
Kuhn is like many others and is concerned about the cleanup costs. To start, she has to shell out at least $5,000 for a sump pump.
“Some people, through COVID, who’s going to have the money to do these repairs?” Kuhn asked.
We took our concerns to State Representative Angelo Puppolo, who is pushing for state or federal funding to help this community recover financially.
“A lot of them did not have flood insurance. It’s something that you don’t have, something that you don’t think about, and it’s something that, in some areas, can be quite expensive,” Puppolo explained.
He said currently, he is assessing the damage in the area to get a more accurate estimate of how many homes were affected.
“We’re in the early stages. It’s nothing that’s going to be done overnight. We’re exploring opportunities to see what’s out there for funding,” Puppolo added.
Whether it be state or federal funding, he’s committed to finding help and giving back.
“I’m not going to leave any stone unturned and I’m going to try to do all I can to bring any assistance home,” Puppolo said.
As for the community declaring a state of emergency, Puppolo told us that wouldn’t hurt, but a more effective way could be requesting funding at a county level, rather than just as an individual city or town.