WEBSTER, Mass. - State leaders gathered in Webster on Thursday night to discuss the possibility of granting relief funds for Webster and Dudley residents and business owners affected by the recent tornado.
Among them was Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Representatives Richard E. Neal, James P. McGovern, State Representative Joe McKenna, Webster Town Administrator Doug Willardson, and local fire and law enforcement officials from Webster and Dudley.
The discussion comes after a tornado ripped through cities and towns in western Massachusetts on Saturday morning. The estimated damage in Webster is likely set in the tens of millions, a hefty sum that many cannot afford.
William Morales owns an apartment building in Webster, but all his tenants have been forced to leave because of the damage to the meters and wiring. One family has already said they will not be coming back.
"The rear apartment, the second rear, they gonna leave they are not going stay here anymore," said Morales. "I'm going to lose money."
While Morales expects his insurance to cover some of his losses, at this point it's unknown if the federal government will also pitch in.
"Its unclear if the damage rises to the level where it qualifies for FEMA money but yet there is significant damage," said U.S. Representative James P. McGovern.
Congressman Richard E. Neal said the delegation will try to get as much as it can for the affected residents and businesses, but says it will not be easy.
"There’s going to be some dispute [over] what private insurance will pay for then what the public sector will help out for," said Rep. Neal. "On public property, for example, where the tree falls, it becomes pretty contentious."
FEMA also has the ability to help the town of Webster with all the expenses it has and will incur from the twister. At this point, residents and business owners are being told to document the damage and hope for the best.
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