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Severe storm recovery event connects residents with help to rebuild in Baltimore

Baltimore resident Kelly Pirtle consults with storm recovery experts after severe weather damaged her home.
Bethany Raja
Baltimore resident Kelly Pirtle consults with storm recovery experts after severe weather damaged her home.

Hamilton neighborhood resident Kelly Pirtle remembers the severe thunderstorms that ripped across the city because she watched her home get significant damage. Severe storms last week dumped four inches of rain on the region.

“A lot of my siding got ripped off,” said Pirtle who lives along Old Harford Road. “I have about four trees that are downed in my yard and hail damage, and wind damage, and trees hit all kinds of things.”

Pirtle says there’s a lot of work to be done on her home and attended a city storm recovery event to learn about her options to move forward.

Northeast Baltimore residents trickled into the storm recovery assistance event late Wednesday afternoon to learn how they can rebuild from the state and city emergency management organizations. The northeastern corner of the city was hit particularly hard with storm damage, officials said.

The goal of the event was to help the neighborhood recover from the trauma of the storm. There were no injuries or deaths as a result of the storm.

“We know when you have a severe incident like this and damages and trauma to the community, that we have to be able to support them, not just when the incident is happening, but when it’s being resolved as well,” said Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott, who lives in Northeast Baltimore.

Office of Emergency Management Deputy Chief James Wallace said during the storm, there was flooding in the neighborhood on the streets and in people’s houses, there were many power outages and lots of downed trees.

More than 50,000 customers were without power last Thursday night, according to Baltimore Gas & Electric.

“Although most of the power outages have been mitigated, we still have work to do with downed trees. A lot of downed trees, trees in dangerous conditions, things like that,” Wallace said.

The city activated the emergency operations center last week and have been canvassing residents about storm damage.

Sharing information directly with residents walking block by block makes a difference to reach more people, officials said.

The recovery event had employees from both the city and state offices of emergency management, the Maryland Insurance Administration and even the city’s planning department to provide insurance claim support, flood management information, emergency management expertise and food distribution information.

Bethany Raja is WYPR's City Hall Reporter
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