Expanded FEMA recovery center opens in Gloucester County, New Jersey to assist tornado victims

Gloucester County is one of the counties where people can apply for direct assistance from FEMA.

Trish Hartman Image
Friday, September 10, 2021
Expanded FEMA recovery center opens for South Jersey tornado victims
People in South Jersey are still dealing with the cleanup from last week's tornadoes. And now comes the paperwork, as they work to get federal relief.

MULLICA HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- As Gloucester County residents clean up after last week's tornado, some are reaching out to county and federal officials for help as they try to put their lives back together.

On Friday, Vicky Schmidt walked around the massive trees that were blown over on the grounds of South Jersey Wildlife Rehabilitation in Sewell.

"We ran back through the barn," said Schmidt. "We literally got in the house, grabbed both of the dogs, Ollie and Gracie, hit the basement and it hit."

The animal sanctuary is also where she lives, and miraculously the animals were fine.

RELATED: Damage cleanup continues after EF-3 tornado strikes Gloucester County

Crews have been working to remove some of the larger trees that had fallen while she went to the FEMA recovery center in Mullica Hill.

"I wanted to fill out the application just because of the amount of damage that we had with the trees and just all the debris and the cleanup and we were looking for extra assistance," said Schmidt.

Gloucester County is one of the counties where people can apply for direct assistance from FEMA, with a major disaster declaration made after the remnants of Ida swept through.

"Anything as far as chain saws, generators, I could submit that to them, which we have had to purchase a lot," said Schmidt.

RELATED: Multiple homes destroyed after powerful EF-3 tornado hits Mullica Hill

Some homes were utterly destroyed, some were badly damaged, while others were barely touched by a tornado that hit Mullica Hill, New Jersey

On Friday, the Gloucester County Library in Mullica Hill opened up a larger FEMA center where people can ask questions about finding temporary housing or supplies. County emergency management and the small business administration were on hand, too.

Hours for the center are:

- Monday - Friday: 7:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m.

- Saturday: 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.

- Sunday: 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

"Whether the concerns are, what is the insurance company covering? What is the insurance company not covering? If we do not have any answers we can figure out and maybe FEMA can help out with what the insurance company is not," said Gloucester County Commissioner Frank DiMarco.

"If it doesn't cover everything and it may not with all the property damage as far as trees and so forth," said Betty Enzman, of Mullica Hill, who applied for recovery assistance through FEMA.

She says she is thankful her home is still standing and thankful she's alive.

"All I can say is God was good to us," said Enzman. "He was protecting us."

On Friday, a major disaster declaration was made for Mercer County and three other New Jersey counties upstate, making residents there affected by the storm eligible to apply for federal assistance.