Sunday, March 9, 1997
Water moves out,
frustration in

Residents want homes inspected

The Cincinnati Enquirer

As crews from Bromley to Mentor undertook flood cleanup Saturday, many residents expressed frustration with the delay in getting their homes certified by building inspectors and state-approved electricians.

''I can appreciate everybody's frustration on all sides, but we're just asking everyone to be patient,'' said Bill Fletcher, deputy director of the Campbell County Disaster and Emergency Services. ''We're trying to help everyone as fast as we can, but the available resources are stretched very thin.''

Residents of a riverfront mobile home park in Ludlow also expressed anger, after city officials condemned several trailers in the River Breeze Mobile Home Park Saturday, leaving 19 families at least temporarily homeless.

Early Saturday, city officials taped signs reading ''uninhabitable'' on the front doors of both of Shirley and Terry Hamblin's mobile homes.

Mrs. Hamblin, near tears, said the couple spent about $3,000 remodeling last year.

''The guy who condemned them said any of these trailers that had been setting in water couldn't be rebuilt,'' said resident Mickey Griess. ''But that's not what the FEMA inspector said.''

A Federal Emergency Management Agency inspector examined the homes Saturday afternoon, telling residents what steps they could take to make the mobile homes livable again, residents said.

An inspector at the scene referred all comment to FEMA field supervisors, none of whom could be reached for comment Saturday.

Ludlow City Administrator Michael Moehlman, who gave his card to one of the residents, also could not be reached.

Except for residents, emergency personnel, and authorized cleanup crews, no one is allowed into parts of Ludlow and Bromley in Kenton County and all of Silver Grove, Melbourne, Ross, California and Mentor in Campbell County, authorities said. A boil water advisory also remains in effect for those areas.

Cinergy Corp. is working to restore power to many of the 1,000 homes in Campbell, Kenton and Pendleton counties, where the electrical service was disconnected because of flooding, said Steve Brash, a company spokesman.

Mr. Brash said residents should not try to restore power themselves.

''There has to be an inspection by a state certified electrical inspector, before the power can be re-connected,'' he said. ''Otherwise, there is a significant risk of electrical damage and fire.''

For houses with natural gas, Cinergy Corp. will do the inspections, Mr. Brash said.

Kenton and Campbell counties are offering free inspections by state certified electrical inspectors. Both counties also are working with the Northern Kentucky Building Inspectors Association to offer free damage assessment inspections to residents wanting to re-enter homes.

Residents needing an inspection should call the Campbell County Disaster and Emergency Services office at 635-1111, the Kenton County Emergency Operations Center at 658-5188, or the Covington Police-Fire Command Center at 391-6089.

In Northern Kentucky, more than 1,650 homes and businesses received some sort of damage.

Boone County had the lowest number of homes damaged - 250 - but many residents simply couldn't reach their homes, said Boone County Police Dispatcher Mike Mann.

On Saturday, Boone County was designated as a federal disaster area, joining Campbell and Kenton counties.