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FEMA still accepting requests from flood-affected residents

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

GROTON — Residents who suffered major, uninsured damage during the March floods may be eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Administration, according to Police Chief Donald Palma.

Speaking to the Board of Selectmen on April 20, Palma said that FEMA is still taking reimbursement applications, saying disaster centers have been opened across the area so people can file the appropriate paperwork. Palma said there are certain “thresholds” involved with such requests, but did not offer specifics, saying FEMA is handling the applications on a case-by-case basis.

“What they’re really looking for is people in need,” he said. “They’re not going to be replacing rugs or drywall but if you lost a heating system or electrical system, they’ll try to help you out with that.”

Palma said FEMA has temporarily set up a disaster center at the Billerica Library. He said there’s also a center at the Lancaster Library, but it’s expected to be consolidated with the Clinton center shortly.

Palma said residents could also contact FEMA via phone at 1-800-621-3362, or online at fema.gov. He said residents could also call him for contact information.

Groton is eligible for the FEMA reimbursements because a state of emergency was declared during the March floods. However, Palma said FEMA has not received many requests from the area to date.

In other business, Palma said the Route 119 bridge in Littleton was reopened on the afternoon of April 20. The bridge was closed for roughly three weeks, while a collapsed culvert under the road was replaced. Palma said there would be continuing roadwork in that area through the end of the week.

In a related matter, Palma confirmed that the state will reimburse the town for traffic detail costs that were incurred during closure of Route 119.

The issue was raised by Selectman Josh Degen, who said he’s received many calls from residents who are concerned the town would have to pay the detail police, which have been parked near the Shaw’s intersection for much of the past three weeks.

Palma said the town will get fully reimbursed for those expenses by the state highway department.