DeKalb Co. cleanup expected to last 3 months - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

DeKalb Co. cleanup expected to last 3 months

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EMA officials said 51 structures were affected by the storm. EMA officials said 51 structures were affected by the storm.

As crews work to begin the post-storm cleanup process, Governor Robert Bentley visited DeKalb County Tuesday to tour the damage.

Bentley said it was like a trip back to 2011. While the damage wasn't as great, the effect on the people is just the same.

During his tour of the county, Bentley stopped to see a chicken farmer who was devastated when he lost his entire farm. Jeff Smith lost his home and both of his chicken houses. Smith said getting his life back couldn't come fast enough.

"I lost 48,000 6-day-old chickens. I have no income. I moved in with my brother and his wife, my sister-in-law, and we're just hoping FEMA comes through for us," said Smith.

Estimates from the Emergency Management Agency indicate there was nearly $3.4 million of damage in the county that will have to be cleaned up – a process that could take months to complete.

County road supervisors and EMA officials addressed the storm at Tuesday morning's DeKalb County Commission meeting. EMA officials said 51 structures were affected by the storm: 16 homes were destroyed and 13 received major damage. The remaining homes received minor damage.

Road Superintendent Tom Broyles said the clean-up process began on Monday. Residents are encouraged to begin doing their part so the debris can be picked up.

"We can't pick up anything that's on private property. It has to be brought to the right-of-way on the road," said Broyles. "The last time I was down around where the tornado hit, there was already a lot beginning to be piled up on that, but that's the responsibility of the property owner, to get it to a place where we can collect it."

Broyles said they will make more than one pass through the area, and expect the cleanup to take up to three months.

Click here for more information on how to apply for federal disaster assistance funds and the disaster recovery centers in North Alabama.

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