Schaefer seeks U.S. loans for battered Reisterstown


Gov. William Donald Schaefer asked the federal governmen for emergency loan assistance yesterday for the Reisterstown area of Baltimore County, which was ravaged Thursday by a tornado now estimated to have caused nearly $10 million in damage.

State emergency management officials, who toured the area yesterday with their federal counterparts, said the storm destroyed 133 apartments and damaged 13 others. Four homes in the area were destroyed, another seven were severely damaged and 40 suffered minor damage.

About 70 percent of the apartment renters were uninsured, making the county eligible for loans from the federal Small Business Administration, said Robert Gould of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. The agency offers available low-interest loans for restoration of home and personal property damage during a disaster.

"The loss of income combined with the uninsured damage is creating a serious hardship," Governor Schaefer said yesterday in a letter to the regional administrator of the Small Business Administration. "There is a clear need for assistance. . . . I request that the Small Business Administration declare Baltimore County eligible for emergency loan assistance to speed the economic recovery of the storm-damaged area."

Mr. Gould said it was not yet possible to estimate how soon the agency would respond to the request for help.

Baltimore County and state emergency management officials toured the area yesterday with representatives of two federal agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration. Afterward, officials issued a preliminary assessment of the damage, putting the total loss at $9,567,500.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross kept up its efforts to help families hit by the tornado. The organization is giving out free food, cleanup kits, vouchers for groceries and household staples and providing shelter as volunteers worked at an emergency center at Franklin Middle School for the third day in a row.

"We're seeing people who know we're here and are coming with specific needs -- food, clothing and shelter," said Elaine Calhoun, a Red Cross worker. The school is at 120 Main St. in Reisterstown.

Last night, 35 apartments at the Comfort Inn in Pikesville were still housing people made homeless by the storm.

Red Cross volunteers, aided by county police and social service workers, will be at Franklin Middle School from noon to 7 p.m. today to continue the relief effort.

Relief donations

The Red Cross is accepting donations to help the cleanup. Checks should be marked for disaster relief and mailed to 4700 Mount Hope Drive, Baltimore 21215.

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