Marshalltown Still Recovering

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- It's been two months since a tornado hit Marshalltown, leaving a trail of destruction. It destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and businesses, along with non-profits and government buildings.

Federal aid became available earlier this month for state and local governments, and certain private nonprofit groups. But FEMA denied individual assistance for homeowners, renters, and business owners. The agency said the damage wasn't severe enough. Governor Reynolds is appealing that decision.

FEMA said the tornado damaged more than two thousand buildings, homes and other properties. TV9 spoke to a homeowner who said the rain after the tornado is what's actually been the twist of the knife.

"I just hope I can recuperate soon," said Martin Minjarez.

Minjarez said when the tornado swept through Marshalltown, his house, garage and cars got hit hard.

"It destroyed the entire house, the windows and it knocked down a pine tree," said Minjarez.

He's still paying the price. Minjarez said storm damage came out to be well over $36,000, with the insurance only covering $18,000.

"I feel late with everything," said Martin Minjarez. "In payments, work and with everything destroyed."

Minjarez said the real costs came after the tornado, when the rainwater came down on his boarded roof and ruined the little belongings he had left.

"It destroyed more than what it was and with the money they gave us it just wasn't enough for even half," said Minjarez.

The city said his house is one of over 1800 homes affected. 60 of them have placards on their doors, condemning them. The mayor said they have no plan right now for those who don't have a place to live.

"We're just hoping these people have relatives and friends and coworkers will have a place for them a place to live or they can find a place out of town but close enough where they can still come back and work," said Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer.

Minjarez blames insurance for the slow recovery.

"A lot of companies that said they would help didn't," said Minjarez.

Since FEMA denied federal assistance, the city said it's hard to find a way to give people aid, which makes the coming winter a scary reality for some.

"We know that people are getting displaced and it's going to get cold and we're going to go through a world of hurt here in the next six months," said Greer.

Greer said he has faith that the town will become better than ever before.

"If you come back to interview me here in three years this town is going to be pretty cool," said Greer.

Those like Martin are just hoping change and drier days come through.

"I just hope another storm and another tornado comes through because if it does we'll never recover. We were finally starting to rebuild," said Minjarez.

FEMA said the tornado also affected 209 businesses, destroying 25.