TARGET 8: Flood victims question assessors' qualifications

2 months 6 days 22 hours ago Wednesday, August 07 2019 Aug 7, 2019 Wednesday, August 07, 2019 9:54:00 PM CDT August 07, 2019 in Top Stories
By: Austin Walker, KOMU 8 Reporter

BRUNSWICK - After receiving damage assessment letters in the mail, Brunswick flood victims have one question: are the people assessing their homes qualified?

Wayne Jones, the former Mayor of Brunswick and flood victim, said he thinks the estimate is inaccurate.

"There is no way that 6 inches of water can produce 100 percent damage," Jones said.

Brunswick residents began receiving the letters July 1. Each letter contained an estimate of how much damage each home received from flood waters. The letters gave home owners two options: raise the home above the flood plain, including filling in the basement, or level the structure.

The letter is attributed to the Brunswick Floodplain Ordinance of 2012. The ordinance states if residents do not abide by the the ordinance, they could face a $500 fine per day.

One of the assessors, Tina Reichart, has limited-to-no home inspection background. Reichart is the owner of Sycamore Valley Farm Bed and Breakfast.

Marissa Robinson, a flood victim, said she thinks they should have training in the field.

"I don't think it's right," Robinson said. "How do they know what to look for if they have never done it."

Tina Reichart said she went through a half day training with FEMA.

"The training taught us what damage to look for," Reichart said. "We learned everything from wiring to cabinets and wall damage."

KOMU 8 reached out to a home inspector to see if the assessments were accurate. Melony Spradling, who has over 20 years of experience assessing homes, said it takes way more than half a day of training.

Spradling said professional inspectors will go on the roof, into the attic, open up the electrical panel and look for any issues. 

"I would say you need a inspector who actually know detailed information in order to help them," Spradling said. "You need someone who knows the specific information to say 'no, you're in good shape.'"

Spradling said FEMA's process could create inaccurate assessments. 

In KOMU 8's original report, we incorrectly identified two of the three assessors in the story. Bill Jackson and Michelle Sanders were not assessors, as previously reported. We regret the error. 

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