Warren County storm victims stuck waiting for relief

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

March 5, 2007

WARREN CTY, Ga.---$135 million is the estimated cleanup cost across the state of Georgia after last Thursday's devastating storms...but that figure does not include Warren County.

Warren County isn't considered a state of emergency, and some say that lack of an official designation is slowing the cleanup process and frustrating storm victims.

It's been four days and Warren County's storm victims haven't seen any relief except from churches and friends.

Their frustration is building.

"We can't clean nothing up," said storm victim Dawn Hixenbaugh. "We can't touch nothing."

That's because the Hixenbaughs are waiting for their insurance adjustors to come out and survey their damage. Their house was knocked off its foundation and is not safe to live in, so while they wait, dawn and her husband bill are forced to live in a camper.

"If you pay insurance and you are out of your home, the insurance companies should be there at least the next day," Bill Hixenbaugh said. "That's the way it should be all across America. If they don't have enough adjustors, hire some."

Watching neighboring McDuffie County receive relief has only added to the frustration.

"I feel if it's a disaster, it's a disaster. I don't care where you're at," Bill said.

"It's very, very disgusting that somehow it just seems like we were overlooked," said Dennis Hixenbaugh.

44 homes across the county were damaged. The tornado destroyed Dennis' home first.

"We just need answers so we can go further with our lives and find out what we're going to do with this devastation," he said.

To help with the relief, Warren County's EMA director filed paperwork with the state Monday. He's asking the county's devastation be tagged on with McDuffie County's.

If that doesn't work, his next step will be to ask the governor to declare Warren County a state of emergency as well.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine was in town Saturday touring McDuffie County. Monday a representative came from his office to see the destruction in Warren County firsthand. No word yet on what they decided.

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