Contractors under microscope with repairs underway in Hazelwood

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by Chris Stanford / News 4 and KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 1:03 AM

(KMOV) -- Officials say a tornado that ripped through the Hazelwood-Florissant area earlier this month caused millions of dollars worth of damage.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman said the EF-2 tornado is likely to have done as much as $3.5-million worth of destruction, according to preliminary findings.

Nearly 100 homes in the area are damaged and 30 appear to be uninhabitable, said Zimmerman.  The County assessor says so far his office has made contact with 40 residents in those 98 homes.   

The damage estimate may increase as more homeowners come forward.

Contractors inundated the area quickly, and residents are being cautioned to protect themselves against possible scams. 

It is in early in the rebuilding process but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some contractors looking to make a quick buck off homeowners who are still trying to figure out how much damage they are facing.

For residents like Juanita WIlliams, those decisions are framed by the tragedy of potentially losing a home. 

"I have some water damage up here along the main beam, some in the kitchen on the ceiling," she said. "A few spots here in my living room."

Williams learned Thursday her home may be condemned if the main support beam is damaged badly enough. 

She said contractors were in the neighborhood almost immediately to start repair work.

"As soon as [the storm] was over, [contractors] were on the street,” she said. 

The City of Hazelwood is having contractors register before they do any work and researching each one.

So far 40 have signed up, and just more than half are accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Some are rated, but many others aren’t.  

So far, no scams have been reported by the vicims. 

A list of contractors serving Hazelwood tornado damage victims can be found here.

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