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Marshall County offering free damage evaluations for tornado survivors

Marshall County, Ky.
Marshall County
/
Marshall County, Ky.

The Marshall County Building Inspection Office is offering free damage evaluations to residents whose homes were impacted by the December tornado outbreak.

Director Casey Counce said this initiative is intended to cover tornado survivors who may have already maxed out their insurance claims prior to needing an evaluation. Anyone who has already received an evaluation through their insurance company need not apply.

Unlike most counties in the region, Marshall County has expanded jurisdiction for building inspections encompassing residential construction. The building code for storm repairs states an affected home needs to be evaluated by a design professional to determine if it has incurred substantial structural damage.

“That evaluation tells us if the structure can be repaired. If it can be, then how?” Counce said. “And if it has met the criteria for being totaled out, then it’s to hopefully prevent people from taking the houses that are too far gone to try to fix them because it’s a lot harder to do that.”

The tornado tore 17 miles through Marshall County and damaged about 500 homes. With many residents tearing down their homes, those who want to reuse the underlying foundation will need an evaluation to determine if it would meet the current code.

Counce noted purchasing these evaluations can impose an “added burden” on residents already seeking building permits to repair their homes, precisely why the city is offering said evaluations free of charge.

Marshall County residents can request an evaluation by completing a form and submitting it in person at 1101 Main St. Suite 200 in Benton, Ky., or via email at buildinginspectionoffice@marshallcountyky.gov before May 18.

“I’m hoping that it’s going to help everybody understand how these structures can be repaired,” Counce said. “Sometimes, it’s not as simple as just putting a roof back on a house or pushing a wall back into place.”

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