FEMA assesses storm damage in Richmond metro-area

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor Bob McDonnell asked for federal assistance for more than 20 Virginia localities to help them deal with the aftermath of Irene. But that request doesn't include metro areas such as Richmond, Henrico, or Chesterfield - which is part of why FEMA was in town Friday surveying the damage.

"We're out here taking a look at individual damages and concentrating on landowners, renters and small businesses," said FEMA spokesperson, Bill Lindsey.

The tour kicked off on Bellevue Avenue in Richmond where the impact from the storm left a home unlivable.

FEMA representatives took notes and asked questions.

"The big thing they're asking is about insurance - that is what really determines what we'll get in Virginia.  In order for us to qualify it has got to be areas that aren't covered by insurance," said Bob Spieldenner, spokesperson for the State Department of Emergency Management.

Information collected will go to the governor. The data will help decide if Virginia meets the threshold for federal reimbursement.

In the Windsor Farms neighborhood, William Frable's dream home is now a work in progress.

"The chimney was knocked off when a tree came down and fell into the bedroom," said Frable.

FEMA crews took pictures. When asked what he wants FEMA to know about how the storm has impacted his life and pockets, Frable couldn't find the words, his tears spoke loudly.

FEMA is looking for specific answers statewide.

"How many homes have been destroyed, how many people had to leave their homes and what is the overall impact on small business," said Lindsey.

FEMA crews will continue to assess damage of homes, businesses and government buildings over the upcoming days. No timeline has been set on when the damage assessment tours will end. FEMA crews have already done similar tours in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Suffolk.

According to the department of emergency management -- so far, 100 homes have been destroyed by the storm, 650 homes have major damage, and 3,500 homes have minor damage -- statewide because of Irene.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.