FEMA Officials Tour Tornado Damage in Bridgeport, Conn. - NECN

FEMA Officials Tour Tornado Damage in Bridgeport, Conn.



    (NECN: Brian Burnell, Bridgeport, Conn.) - A tornado ripped through Bridgeport, Connecticut last Thursday, causing buildings to collapse and countless trees to tumble to the ground.

    Today, FEMA officials surveyed the damage.

    This building on Main Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut is the first of several to be torn down after being severely damaged in last week's tornado. Investigators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in town looking things over to assess just how bad it was.

    Kerry Sullivan, FEMA: "Our experts look at things, estimate what's happened, they talk to people. They find out what the human impact is."

    Among those they spoke with... Christian Morales who helped helped a woman who was trapped in a car when wind-blown debris came crashing down.

    Christian Morales, Bridgeport CT: "The roof fell on the girl car and the old lady, she was stuck in the car and so a friend goes, he took her out. He helped them out and he was, like, "she's alright?" And I was, like, "yeah." I was trying to take out the stuff on the floor. Help them out, too."

    That woman is impacted, literally and figuratively, by the tornado. But so, too, are the people who lived and worked in the building that collapsed onto her car. That is what FEMA is here to learn. How bad is the damage? How many people are affected and to what extent? An official disaster declaration would mean money can start flowing in from places like the small business administration.

    Michael Dejoie, Small Business Administration: "Once it's declared then SBA can come in and help homeowners and renters, private non-profits as well businesses. And help how? Grants? Loans? How does it work? Loans. Low interest loans."

    Up to 2-million for businesses, 200-thousand for homeowners and 40-thousand for homeowners and renters for loss of personal property.

    It will be up to the federal government to declare a disaster here and there's a problem with that. Its declared based on a county-wide assessment of damage but the damage was in one small part of one city. Bridgeport.

    The national weather service says the tornado cut a 100-yard wide path for less than a quarter mile.

    Mayor Bill Finch, D-Bridgeport CT: "Almost all the damage from the storm was on this street and municipal buildings so we have to make that everybody who has had damage, regardless of whether they're covered by insurance or not. That's irrelevant. Tell us what the damage was."

    It is amazing to think there were no serious injuries and no one was killed by that very quick, but very violent storm.