50 N.C. Businesses Affected, Gov. Declares Disaster Area

September 27, 2007

Gov. Mike Easley declared Spruce Pine, N.C. a state disaster area to help offset damages caused by a series of fires Aug. 4 and Aug. 5, making the town eligible for financial assistance.

More than 50 businesses were significantly impacted or destroyed by back-to-back fires in the Mitchell County town.

“The fires destroyed a significant portion of downtown Spruce Pine,” said Easley. “Since a thriving downtown is vital to the economy of our smaller communities, we have a responsibility to help them rebuild.”

The town qualifies for a Type 1 Disaster Declaration and is eligible to receive state disaster aid to repair and rebuild public structures. Damage estimates for the town were not high enough to meet criteria for a federal disaster declaration. Spruce Pine is eligible for a state level disaster because the town proclaimed a local state of emergency and damage estimates exceed one percent of the town’s annual operating budget.

Last month, Easley requested and received a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help businesses in downtown Spruce Pine recover from the fire. The declaration made low-interest government loans available to business owners to help them cover normal operating expenses while they rebuild.

Office of the Governor of North Carolina

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