SHADY SPRING, WV - Heavy rains during the fall of 2003 saturated the ground in Shady Spring with over 5 inches of rain in less than a month. When 2.4 inches additional inches fell in one day, the crawlspace under David and Dwila Kimbrells’ home flooded.
Water destroyed their furnace and left them without heat as the weather was getting colder.
Access to the furnace was also an issue. “As David and I get older, it just gets more difficult for us to service the unit and the heating contractor does not like to crawl in there, either,” said Mrs. Kimbrell.
The 2003 event was enough for a presidential disaster declaration. The Kimbrells applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance and visited a Disaster Recovery Center to get information about how they could rebuild. They met with a FEMA mitigation advisor and received information about relocating their furnace. After consulting with a contractor they decided to install the new furnace in their attic.
As part of the federal disaster assistance available to them, the Kimbrells qualified for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Their $8,000 loan covered the project.
SBA Disaster Loans for physical damages may be increased up to 20 percent of the SBA verified damage to protect property against future disasters of the same type. These additional funds can help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent, or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
With the loan, the Kimbrells had a high efficiency system installed in the attic of their house. During the March flood the crawlspace was flooded but the relocated furnace and air conditioner have worked well and only needed to have normal annual maintenance since the installation, The HVAC unit is not at risk when the next flood inevitably comes.