Tropical storm Irma leaves Wagener Town Hall in ruins

WAGENER, S.C. (WJBF) – Tough days are ahead for the Town of Wagener, South Carolina.

While downed trees and power outages were the worst of the effects from the tropical storm for most of  Aiken County., that’s not the case in Wagener.

Wagener Mayor Michael Miller was holding back tears as he walked through Town Hall on Tuesday.

The tropical storm ripped the roof off the building, devastating the heart of the city.

“What is the damage in there right now?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“Incredible,” Miller said.

Many ceiling tiles are gone, the insulation exposed and the water damage is extensive.

Miller says he hopes insurance will cover the repairs, since the town won’t be getting any financial assistance from the county or the state.

“The county will not be getting reimbursed because it was not considered, or it was not declared a catastrophe.” Aiken County Council Chairman Andrew Siders said. “It was declared an emergency, but we will not be getting state or federal funding.”

The storm damage will keep Town Hall closed for now, and city employees will be relocated to a nearby building so they can reopen and resume operations.

Miller is hopeful the town can pull together to make it through, like they always do.

However, he says he hopes in the future county leaders will be more active about keeping the Town of Wagener in the loop when they are preparing for natural disasters.

“The county, the state or F.E.M.A. I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but they are not doing a good job, because we didn’t have a shelter available down here.” Miller told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “We didn’t have anything available, including gasoline to get to Aiken, to one of the 3 schools that were open over there.”

The Insurance Assessor will be doing an inspection sometime this week.

Miller says if anyone wants to volunteer to help cleanup or make a donation please contact him at mayormikemiller@gmail.com.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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