With residents lacking flood insurance, Salem launches relief fu - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

With residents lacking flood insurance, Salem launches relief fund

Salem Middle School flooding Salem Middle School flooding
Crews have a big cleanup on their hands after flooding damaged Salem Middle School. (Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News) Crews have a big cleanup on their hands after flooding damaged Salem Middle School. (Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Joe Kachnabage brought out his measuring tape on Monday to show WAVE 3 News how high Friday's flood waters got. The water line reached 9.5 feet in his building.

>> ALERT: Salem Middle School closed Tuesday

"I don't know what all I've lost," he said.

Kachnabage owns the Salem Lumber Company. It sits on Water Street, a notorious Salem floodplain.

The business has been there since 1972. The first major flood was in 2004. 

"The next month after the flood I tried to get insurance, flood insurance," Kachnabage said. "It was going to run $2,200 a month. I couldn't afford that."

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It appears Kachnabage’s neighbors can’t afford flood insurance either.

"I don't think you can get flood insurance in a floodplain," said Bob Huff, owner of Hughes Tire Service.

According to FEMA, the average annual residential flood insurance policy is $426 in Salem, and $1,130 for a business.

However, the cost can go up based on factors like the age of a building, design and if it's in a flood zone.

"I think we've probably identified only nine or 10 businesses along there that in fact had flood insurance," Greg Fitzloff, Salem’s Community Development Director, said. "We're dealing with a significant amount of people that probably don't."

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The city has created an emergency flood fund to help. It's in the early stages but officials said they plan to release the money as quickly as possible.

"We certainly don't expect that it's going to make everybody whole or perhaps to what extent they suffered," Fitzloff said. "But it's certainly to provide the minimal amount of assistance we can."

In the meantime, people like Kachnabage are cleaning up the mess themselves.

"I don't wish that on nobody," Kachnabage said.

To donate to the Salem Emergency Flood Fund, call 812-883-4265 or send checks to 2017 Emergency Flood Fund, 201 E. Market Street, Suite 101, Salem, IN 47167.

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