© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FEMA Assessment Underway in Tornado Damaged Areas

FEMA investigators assess a tornado-damaged apartment building in Trotwood.
April Laissle
FEMA investigators assess a tornado-damaged apartment building in Trotwood.

Miami Valley officials are only beginning to calculate the longterm impacts of the devastation from last week’s tornado outbreak. Key is an investigation by FEMA to determine whether Ohio is eligible for emergency aid.

Officials caution it’s a complicated process that will take time. To see it in action, WYSO’s April Laissle followed one FEMA team into a particularly hard-hit area of Trotwood.

At the Westbrook Village Apartment Complex, a group of FEMA investigators walk through muddy grass holding clipboards, taking stock of what’s left.

“It's hard to tell from down here, but you can see all the roof damage,” says FEMA investigator Steve Cooper. “It looks like they had a tarp here. I'm assuming a tree entered the roof or something.”

Roof damage is just one of the problems here.

The building is missing almost all of its windows. Insulation and drywall sit in piles on the lawn.

This apartment complex originally had 312 units. Now, only 72 of them are habitable.

In just a few days, this FEMA team plans to assess these apartments, and survey the rest of the damage all over the county.

The Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) estimates more than 2,500 properties suffered some kind of storm damage.

Jay Carey with the county EMA says investigators are trying to figure out what it’ll take for the community to recover from the storm, not just by looking at the buildings, but by talking to residents.

“We’re trying to get an idea of the impact, not just in dollars,” says Carey. “Keep in mind it's uninsured damage we're looking at as well.”

Many of the people who lived in this complex didn’t have renter's insurance.

That’ll factor in to FEMA’s overall damage assessment, Carey says.

The agency is expected to finish surveying the damage across Ohio this week.  

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit .

April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.