FEMA Disaster Center opens in Spotsylvania

SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) - The race is on to register August earthquake victims for FEMA. To date, roughly 4,000 people have been registered, 7.7 million dollars in aid awarded. But Friday, federal aid was extended to five counties in addition to hard-hit Louisa County- giving residents there only a few months to ask for help.  

Officials opened a new office there this morning- that will be open seven days a week until the deadline in March. They say because these counties were added late, getting victims registered is critical.

The doors are open, but almost no one is inside FEMA's new Disaster Recovery Center in Spotsylvania County. But these workers are ready- and say it's important residents here, stop in.

"Cracks in chimneys, sheet rock, structural failures, possibly even your well…maybe the casing has shifted or cracked and could be contaminating your well. You need to register," said Michael Skeels with FEMA.

That was the case for James Weaver, who lives near Lake Anna.

"A lot of the damage at my house even I couldn't see myself, but the engineer could," Weaver said.

He was one of a few victims who stopped in the center on opening day.

"The earthquake did foundation damage, and a lot of sheet rock and roof damage to my house," he said.

But he says getting help in person, makes a big difference.

"It's nice to have them where you can actually come in and sit down with somebody and they can point out the pieces that I missed," added Weaver.

"They are absolutely grateful. Some people they didn't know who to turn to, what to do. A lot of cases, people don't have earthquake insurance because earthquakes don't occur here and earthquake insurance is not a part of your normal homeowners," Skeels said.

But they say they can help answer questions here- all it takes is a step in the door.

Culpeper, Fluvanna, Fredericksburg, Orange, Goochland and Spotsylvania have all been added to the list of areas eligible for FEMA. It does not cost anything to register with FEMA.  The office is at 8960 Courthouse Road in Spotsylvania. It will be open from 10 am - 6 pm, seven days a week. Louisa County's office also re-opened today. The FEMA aid deadline is March 5th.  

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