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Low-interest loans being sought by governor for Uniontown tornado victims

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, March 8, 2018, 3:12 p.m.
Housing debris is scattered through the yards of home near North Gallatin Avenue on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 in Uniontown. A tornado touched down on Thursday night causing large swaths of property damage.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Housing debris is scattered through the yards of home near North Gallatin Avenue on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 in Uniontown. A tornado touched down on Thursday night causing large swaths of property damage.

Gov. Tom Wolf has requested the U.S. Small Business Administration declare disasters in parts of Fayette County that were affected by a rare February tornado .

If the administration approves the request, affected property owners could apply for low-interest loans, according to a news release.

In total, 218 structures in the Uniontown area sustained some level of damage — 22 were destroyed , nine were heavily damaged, 73 had minor damage and 114 mainly need to be cleaned up.

The Feb. 15 EF1 tornado brought wind gusts at 7 p.m. of up to 105 mph, ripping roofs from homes and businesses, toppling trees and leaving debris strewn in the streets. Damage was centered around North Gallatin Avenue.

Evaluations conducted by city, county and state authorities showed that more than 38 of the structures involved have a certain amount of uninsured losses, qualifying the area for the loans, according to the release. Property owners will be notified if the administration approves the governor's request.

State Rep. Matthew Dowling, R-Uniontown, said the tornado damage did not meet the disaster threshold for FEMA assitance but may quality for SBA loan assistance.

“I want to thank Gov. Wolf for this action and cordially and personally invite him to Uniontown to have a look at the damage this tornado wreaked upon the community,” Dowling said. “He is taking the next step to aid those who have been affected by this storm.”

Among those assisting the displaced are the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Fayette County Community Action Agency. Some people are still being put up in motels while they seek housing assitance.

Staff writer Stephen Huba contributed. Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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