Church volunteers help flooding victims in Barberton as Summit County declares state of emergency

BARBERTON, Ohio - Summit County Executive Russ Pry has declared a state of emergency as a result of the July 10 storm that caused extensive flooding in a number of communities.

"This declaration allows the Emergency Management Agency to continue to gather information that will be used in the event we are eligible for assistance," said Summit County EMA administrator Valerie De Rose.

This declaration doesn't guarantee that any emergency funds will come from the state or federal governments, but it's the first step in the eligibility process.

Affected areas are being reviewed and the information will be provided to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Barberton was hit hardest by the floods. Assistant Planning Director Joe Stefan said the city received hundreds of complaints from residents who sustained flood damage.

City leaders had a meeting on Wednesday with representatives from Gov. John Kasich's office to discuss possible funding options.

Mayor William Judge said the city will go after state and federal funds, but may not learn if the city is eligible until next week.

"We're still assessing the damage and getting input from the residents," Judge said.

The mayor also indicated that 650 applications for the city's relief program have been handed out and some homeowners may be eligible for repair or replacement of electrical boxes, furnaces or water heaters.

Also on Wednesday, several volunteers from Calvary Chapel spent their fourth day helping flood victims along 14th Street.

Dave Parks said the group has handed out 275 meals and 500 to 600 bottles of water. The group is also cleaning up basements and removing anything in ruins.

They wore masks and gloves to hold off bad smells left behind from the receded sewer water, and to avoid contact with mold.

The excessive heat-- temperatures soaring around 90-- also made the cleanup work extra challenging.

"You can't hold enough water down. You're just sweating. It just wears you out," Parks said.

Barbara Coburn, 62, lost her hot water tank, furnace, air conditioning unit and electrical panel after 7 feet of water spilled into her basement. It was the sixth time her home has flooded.

She was very grateful to the volunteers who removed damaged insulation and personal belongings from the basement.

"It's just been a tremendous blessing to have them come and work with us and help us get this out," Coburn said.

Anyone who would like to help with the volunteer efforts should call Cavalry Chapel at 330-848-2000.

If you experienced severe storm damage, which are uninsured losses, provide this information to your local government office, county officials said.

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