BENSALEM >> Damage assessment efforts in Lower Bucks County are continuing as county, state and local officials measure the fallout from the July 12 flash flooding.
Teams from Bucks County Emergency Management, together with officials from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, spent much of Tuesday, July 13 surveying areas of Bristol Township, Bristol Borough and Bensalem Township where numerous residences were evacuated and others condemned.
Hardest hit was Lafayette Gardens, a complex of condominiums situated between Bristol Pike and the banks of Poquessing Creek in Bensalem. Overwhelmed by the lingering storms, the engorged creek swelled Monday into nearby homes, displacing residents and destroying many of the complex’s 60 units.
“It was heartbreaking to see so many people forced from their homes and dealing with so much damage,” said Bucks County Commissioner Bob Harvie. “There are families in our communities who lost everything they own, and others who may not have flood insurance and have to pay out of pocket for repairs to their houses.”
Harvie and Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo toured the damage at Lafayette Gardens and other sites, and spoke to residents working through Tuesday’s heat and humidity to salvage belongings from their waterlogged homes.
“I’m hoping our Bucks County residents consider reaching out to the affected communities and the Red Cross to find ways to help our neighbors in need,” Harvie said.
The American Red Cross staged at Cornwells Fire Company to assist Lafayette Gardens residents with finding temporary housing.
Municipal officials by 5 p.m. Tuesday had received hundreds of reports of damage to homes, as well as reports of washed-out and still-flooded roadways.
“After touring some of the hardest hit locations, I think it’s just a miracle that no one was seriously injured or lost their lives,” said DiGirolamo. “I want to thank all of the men and women of our police and fire departments, and our EMS personnel for their lifesaving and heroic work during the storm.”
In the Croydon section of Bristol Township, where nearly 10 inches of rain had fallen the evening prior, some streets in the Croydon Acres neighborhood were still home Tuesday afternoon to a foot or more of standing water.
Along the 400 block of Pond Street in neighboring Bristol Borough, officials had condemned several structures where water had ripped through and torn a hole in one house’s foundation.
Emergency Management personnel were back on the road Wednesday morning to continue evaluating damage.
On July 15 the Bucks County Commissioners approved a Declaration of Disaster Emergency, which allows the county Emergency Management Agency to cut through red tape when providing assistance to those impacted by the storms that wreaked havoc in Bensalem, Bristol Borough and Bristol Township.
An estimated 100 homes incurred damage considered to be “major,” as defined by Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines. It is believed hundreds more homes also sustained damage during the storms, albeit less severe.
The June 12 storms likewise inflicted damage on roadways and other public infrastructure in the area.
County emergency management officials’ damage assessment efforts are ongoing, with totals expected to rise into the millions of dollars.
The commissioners are working with state legislators, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and other state and local partners to secure all available, appropriate resources to assist in recovery.
Earlier this week, the county and its partners brought a “Multi-Agency Resource Center” to the Lower Bucks area to assist those affected.
Anyone displaced by the storm and in need of shelter should contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767. (Select option four.)
Residents and business owners are urged to report storm damage to municipal officials using the following phone numbers: Bensalem Township – 215-633-3741; Bristol Borough – 215-788-3828, ext. 12; and Bristol Township – 267-812-2938.
Municipal officials should report damage to Bucks County Emergency Management by emailing email@example.com or calling 215-340-8700.
Anyone displaced by the storm and in need of shelter should contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767. (Select option four)