Tarboro residents will fend for themselves in Irene recovery

Posted September 3, 2011 10:15 p.m. EDT
Updated September 3, 2011 11:02 p.m. EDT

— Many Hurricane Irene victims in central and eastern North Carolina are spending their Labor Day weekend cleaning up from the powerful storm that left many communities waterlogged and debris-littered one week ago.

In Tarboro, many residents say they're disappointed that Edgecombe County wasn't part of the federal disaster declaration for individuals. The county will get some help to recover, but people and businesses will have to fend for themselves.

Keith Webb said the damage around downtown Tarboro is substantial. He was standing on his porch last week when a huge tree came crashing down toward his 102-year-old home.

"I turned and ran like a bunny down the hallway to get away from the front door and (it) hit with a bang," he said.

His insurance company gave him a preliminary estimate of $50,000 to repair his house – $7,000 just to remove the tree.

Down the street, 11-year-old Mackenzie Johnson vividly remembers being knocked to the floor by a toppled oak tree that smashed into her home.

"I was screaming and crying. It was just scary," she said.

Nearby, the Town Commons was also hit hard.

"It was probably six or seven trees on this block that fell over," said resident Michael Harris. "Just the cracking of the limbs was pretty scary."