FORT PLAIN, N.Y. – Senator Charles Schumer, volunteers and residents are working in collaborative effort to recover from recent storm damage, as piles of debris that contain remnants of people's homes, their livelihoods and their belongings remain strewn along the streets of Fort Plain.
Schumer will tour Abbott Street at 1 p.m. Wednesday, where floods have caused significant damage to homes, businesses and roadways over the last several days in the wake of heavy rainfall.
During the visit, Schumer will launch his push for FEMA to approve the state's request for a federal emergency declaration in Montgomery County and other affected areas. Schumer has said this declaration will help deliver federal Individual Assistance to help homeowners and business owners rebuild and Public Assistance for local governments to rebuild roads, bridges and other critical infrastructural damage that occurred during the storm.
Schumer will be joined by the family of Ethel Healey to applaud the efforts of Montgomery County first responders and will then view damage along the Otsquago Creek with Montgomery County Emergency Manager Adam Schwabrow, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors John Thayer, Mayor Guy Barton, State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, and State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
The assistance of federal agencies may be the support local residents say they need to recover from the significant damage they are now experiencing.
Local pizzeria owner, Joe Schultz, said he was in the process of tearing out his restaurant in hopes of rebuilding as quickly as possible.
"I walked in, and you know, just a mess," Schultz said. "Mud everywhere. It's all rotted."
There are also health hazards lurking in the debris as people try to salvage what remains in their damaged homes.
Nancy Ryan, a pastor at Reformed Church of Fort Plain, helped coordinate teams of volunteers to help the village recover from the devastation caused by the recent floods. She said she saw first-hand the dangers left behind after the water receded.
"You go down into these places and there are nails, debris. You get a puncture wound. You get several kinds of illnesses that can be life threatening," she said.
The Health Department set up at local churches and offered free tetanus shots to residents.
Also assisting in the recovery efforts, the Red Cross distributed face masks as a first defense for volunteers against any airborne illnesses.
"There is dust, there's mold. We don't know what's in these basements we are going into," Ryan said.
Volunteers are still needed throughout the village. If you wish to volunteer you can call (518) 993-4302, or register in person at the Reform Church of Fort Plain on Canal Street. They ask that you please bring your own boots and gloves.
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