Governor Mark Sanford Friday got a firsthand look at the 30 suare miles of wildfire-damaged areas in Horry County.
Local officials praised the governor’s responsiveness, bristling at the suggestion that Sanford had not acted quickly enough.
Bob Grabowski, vice-chair of Horry County Council, says that he has been continually asked by the press about “why the governor took so long to respond.”
“Well, it didn’t take long. The governor acted appropriately and in a timely manner,” insists Grabowski, “and he did mobilize all the resources necessary that was at the state’s disposal to get here to Horry County. And Governor, I want to thank you for that.”
At a press conference in the county, Governor Sanford says that, with the federal disaster declaration, the area will be helped with only certain things.
Sanford says, “A lot of it is tied to uninsured, as opposed to insured risk amd there will be a problem there. FEMA is going to help us out with regard to assistance, but it’s to public bodies. So we’ll look at a 75 percent match on a lot of the financial assistance to public bodies that took care of different things, but that again does not go down to those individuals.”
For individuals —Ron Osborne, the Director of the Emergency Management Division—says there are two programs they will be looking into, once they get the fire contained.
He explains that the FEMA Individual Assistance Program’s “trip wire” is roughly 100 homes that are uninsured.
“If we fail to meet that threshold,” says Osborne, “there is another program called the Small Business Administration Disaster, which can provide low-interest loans to businesses and homeowners.”
As of Friday evening, the fire had destroyed 69 homes and damaged 100 others.