WASHINGTON – The Small Business Administration announced Friday it will offer disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to help counter the damage of the Yarnell Hill fire that killed 19 firefighters in June.
State officials had asked for assistance from the SBA after their request for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was turned down in early August. The SBA said Friday it would provide business loans of up to $2 million, home loans of up to $200,000 and loans to replace personal property up to $40,000 in Yavapai and neighboring counties.
“The U.S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing Arizona with the most effective and customer-focused response possible,” Jeanne Hulit, acting SBA administrator, said in a written statement Friday. “We will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for residents and businesses affected by the disaster.”
Frances Lechner, a spokeswoman for the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group, said the loans should help.
“It’s mentally, emotionally and financially a shot in the arm,” she said.
The loans will not have as much of an impact as the FEMA money would have, Lechner said. But Yarnell’s “shoestring economy” was already struggling before the fire, and low-interest loans could make a difference, she said.
“If ever there were people in need of low interest loans, it’s Yarnell,” Lechner said.
SBA spokesman Gary Colton agreed that if residents are approved for an SBA loan, “it’s another tool they can use in their recovery.”
The agency will review all applications by sending a representative to review claims, but Colton said he doesn’t doubt that the damage will usually be severe enough to qualify.
“If it’s from the fire, it’s probably significant damage,” he said.
The deadline to apply for a loan for physical property damage is Nov. 12 and the deadline to apply for a business loan to help offset economic damage is June 13, 2014. The loans are available to residents of Yavapai, Coconino, Gila, La Paz, Maricopa and Mohave counties.
The SBA also set up a local loan center at the Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church that will be open through Oct. 10, Colton said.
Gov. Jan Brewer’s office did not return a request for comment Friday on the SBA announcement, but she expressed disappointment last month when Arizona’s FEMA request was turned down.
“I am deeply troubled by the Obama administration’s decision to deny much-needed recovery assistance in the wake of Arizona’s deadliest wildfire,” Brewer said Aug. 9 in a written statement. “This designation would have provided critical aid to citizens most impacted by the fire.”
Brewer said then that Yarnell residents should not have to worry about recovering financially after having to deal with the June 30 deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain hotshot crew in the fire.
Those deaths probably did not influence the SBA’s decision much, Colton said. The administration’s disaster relief efforts are meant to address property damage, and the SBA decided the damage in Yarnell was extensive enough to need federal assistance, he said.
“Loss of life is always a tragedy, but that probably isn’t a major consideration,” Colton said of the decision-making process. “I can’t speak for FEMA, but we look at property at the SBA.”
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon