Facing Financial Loss After the Storm

TOLEDO -- For many Toledoans, the recovery continues from last week's devastating storm. Not only is there plenty of clean up work still to be done -- there's also the challenge of financial recovery as families struggle to recoup what was lost in the flood waters.

News 11 visited the Bennett-Laskey neighborhood Monday -- one of the hardest hit in the city -- where the biggest task remains picking up the massive piles of trash that are still being hauled to the curb. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says the city will be spending another week or week and a half paying extra attention to such areas.

City refuse collection crews make daily sweeps of the hard-hit areas, and the contaminated and damaged items keep piling up. Crew member Bob Okulski told News 11, "It's gotta be done. There's a lot of devastation out here, so we have to try to take care of it -- do the best we can."

All the storm debris is taken to the Hoffman Road Landfill. The Mayor's office says that, so far, about 270 tons of trash generated by the storm has been discarded there.

One recovering Toledoan is Kate Plock, who has lived on Burnham Avenue since 1961. She says her has home suffered flood damage in the past, but never to this extent. Her basement was completely full of water, and that's left her with a hollow feeling.

Kate said, "Everything went -- washer, dryer, furnace. The furnace has to go. The dehumidifier's gone. They took everything out -- all my cabinets, my ironing boards, my irons."

She added that she'll receive $5,000 from her insurance company, but that won't cover the cost of what she lost. She says she's "just taking it a day at a time, hoping the good lord is there to help me. I don't know, we'll see what happens."

What'll happen over the next several days is that city services will concentrate on helping the neighborhoods that have suffered the most. Mayor Finkbeiner said, "The police department and public service teams will note hot spots and coordinate with the solid waste division. Environmental services is standing by to collect hazardous materials, and building inspectors will continue to assess damages in the community."

As the community dries out and cleans up, the Mayor says the city will be taking a close look at Shanty Creek, which spilled over and caused the flooding in the Bennett/Laskey area. Officials will determine what remedies can be implemented.

Also, the city is concerned about sewer cave-ins over the next few days in areas where the ground is weakened by water and could cause a sewer line to break.

Lucas County leaders need your help in reporting your flood damage. They need to know the amount of damage to facilitate federal and state emergency assistance. To report damage, dial 211 on a land line -- or, if using a cell phone, call 1-800-650-HELP.

Posted by PJS