LEOMINSTER — During one of his regular flood updates, Mayor Dean Mazzarella said that residents struggling to repair and clean flood-damaged properties should be aware of a few things that could make the process much easier. From advice, to cleaning crews, to dumping areas, the city wants residents to know that help is being made available to them.
First off, during natural disasters like this flood, not all people are looking to help and Mazzarella wants to remind residents to be very wary of anybody approaching them to offer cleaning services.
“For a lot of companies, this is a chance to take advantage of people. Be careful of who you get yourself involved with,” said Mazzarella. “Be careful with those kinds of things.”
He said, there are those that specifically go out to natural disaster areas in order to scam vulnerable people, and he wants to remind residents that the scams can come in many forms, so flood-ravaged neighborhoods just need to be vigilant.
The state has offered a hotline that residents can call for assistance in flood cleanup called Crisis Cleanup. The hotline is (978) 219-6107.
“If you need assistance with damage from the flooding in Massachusetts, call the number above to ask for help. We will connect you with volunteers from local relief organizations, community groups and faith communities who may be able to assist,” said a release from Crisis Cleanup.
Crisis Cleanup will assist with cutting fallen trees, removal of drywall, removal of flooring and appliances, tarping roofs and mold mitigation. All services are free but, due to the overwhelming need, services can’t be guaranteed.
Fortunately, before long, Mazzarella said the city will actually be sending people out to help clean Leominster neighborhoods.
“From what I understand, starting next week, we have a group that comes in that will help people clean up [at their homes],” Mazzarella said Wednesday evening. “We’re trying to help in as many ways as possible.”
In the meantime, the city has organized a flood disposal collection this weekend at Doyle Field. This Saturday, Sept 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17, the city will be holding a storm debris collection at Doyle Field, 160 Priest St., Leominster. The collection will be held, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The collection is for storm debris only and residents can bring damaged flooring, ceiling tiles, sheetrock, drywall and boxes filled with paper (photos, magazines, etc.). The collection will not accept electronics, appliances, mattresses, tires, propane tanks, furniture, or yard waste.
Residents are still allowed to dispose of one bulk item per week but, as the situation progresses, the city is telling residents to call the Leominster Health Department directly at (978) 962-3558 for updated disposal allowances.
For those that rent, the city is providing a service to advise tenants on who is responsible regarding property damage during a natural disaster.
For questions related to tenant/landlord storm related responsibilities, reach out to Community Legal Aid, which has a fully-staffed office located in Fitchburg. Apply for services online at communitylegal.org/get-help or call at (978) 516-5155 during intake hours; Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1:30-4:15 p.m.