MASARDIS, Maine — Inspecting the flood damage from the Aroostook River in Masardis on Saturday, Gov. John Baldacci told two families whose homes were damaged by the high waters that he would provide them with whatever help he could find.
An ice jam last week caused flooding on Route 11 in Masardis, forcing the evacuation of several homes in this Aroostook County community.
Baldacci, who also visited Ashland to view flood damage there, was briefed by Vern Ouellette, Aroostook Emergency Management Agency director; Steve Sherman, Masardis fire chief; Robert Gross, Forest Service district ranger; and other local officials, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“The magnitude of this flood is certainly not what we saw a year ago in Aroostook County,” Baldacci said in the prepared statement. “But there are homes that have been destroyed, and folks without homes. We will do what we can to help, and they should know they are not alone.”
Julia MacDonald, Masardis town manager, said Saturday the governor told the families on Route 11 who suffered flood damage that he would set them up with the state Emergency Management Agency and Catholic Charities.
“He [Baldacci] went in and inspected their buildings and said some of them weren’t fit to live in,” MacDonald said.
The town and the American Red Cross have provided funds for overnight stays for two families in Presque Isle, but accommodations closer to Masardis are being sought, according to MacDonald.
“We’re going to work with local officials and relief agencies to get these families some help immediately, and then to help them repair their homes or find a new place to live,” Baldacci said in the prepared statement.
Baldacci noted that the Aroostook Emergency Management Agency had worked cooperatively with Maine’s Department of Conservation to map and track damage in the area, using a new technology acquired through the Department of Homeland Security and Maine National Guard.
The Global Relief Technologies hand-held data system allows personnel on the ground to link disaster information, photographs and coordinates by satellite immediately to other responders and headquarters. The real-time information allows for a quicker, more precise response, according to the release.
Baldacci also visited the Ashland site of Northeast Pellets, which recently was destroyed by fire, and he spoke with the mill’s owner, Matthew Bell, the release stated.