Shelby county assessing storm damages; officials warn against 'fly-by-night' contractors

Shelby county assessing storm damages; officials warn against 'fly-by-night' contractors
(KTRE Staff)
(KTRE Staff)

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Shelby County officials are among many East Texas counties working side by side with agencies to get their devastating storm damages assessed. Meanwhile, business bureaus are warning Texas residents to beware of "fly-by-night" contractors.

"Nine years of hard work, gone," said Carrol Jernigan, a Shelby County resident.

What was a subdivision filled with the water bursting over the banks of the Sabine River, is now a sandy swamp land on the road to recovery.

"We figure that the water was coming up on this bank at the rate of about five feet an hour," Jernigan said. "I've been here a little over nine years building and adding, and we just about had anything we wanted. It was there."

The Shelby County judge and Joaquin Mayor have been urging riverside residents to turn in brief descriptions and extent of damages.

They think that we'll fall in the category of getting some type of help," Jernigan said.

"We're doing our initial damage assessment," said Barbara Bunn, American Red Cross Volunteer.

FEMA and Red Cross have been going door-to-door assessing damages.

"We're finding out how much relative damage there is to homes primarily to document, so we'll know what kind of assistance we can offer," Bunn said.

Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau is warning those recovering to watch out for "fly-by-night contractors" out to take advantage of the devastation.

A few tips from the Bureau are as follows:

Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts if temporary repairs are necessary.

Don't be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact.

For major repairs, take time to shop around and get several estimates based on the same specifications and materials. Check out references that are at least one year-old and verify licensing with local agencies.

Shelby County officials said they haven't encountered any fraudulent contractors yet. They believe the southward larger counties affected might be more of a target.

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