7 On Your Side: After home deemed ‘nuisance,’ woman files 5th FEMA appeal

7 On Your Side: After home deemed ‘nuisance,’ woman files 5th FEMA appeal
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)


An East Texas woman says the city wants her to tear down her home. However, she says a FEMA representative told her to fix it.

The City of Jacksonville was declared a disaster area after a storm in May. Shelia Chilton claims it was a storm-related fire that left her and her family without a place to live.

"If I come home, this is what I come home to," Chilton said.

Ashes and rubble are all that's left in the framework of Chilton's home of 25 years.

"We lost everything," Chilton said.

She says she was without power for several days, and when her power was restored, a power surge caused the house fire.

"It's related to the storm because the lights were out. And when the power came back on, it caught my house," Chilton said.

Jacksonville Fire Chief Keith Fortner says when they arrived at the fire scene, the home was engulfed, and there was a downed power line. But Fortner says he can't say if the fire was storm-related.

"We cannot directly tell that. We found a point of origin of the fire, which was at the rear of the house," Fortner said.

Chilton says a FEMA inspector did come out to her home and told her the house was livable.

"She said it needed repairs. I don't see anything that could be repaired. Maybe the table, smoke wiped off of it," Chilton said.

Chilton says she filed another appeal with FEMA on Wednesday, this time with a report from a forensic inspector. She is hopeful that it will get her approved for help.

According to FEMA, the most common reasons for receiving a determination of ineligibility are: adequate insurance coverage, insufficient storm-related damage, or missing documentation needed to complete the assistance evaluation process.

“I have just steady been appealing and they have steady been denying me," Chilton said.

The City of Jacksonville has deemed Chilton's home an urban nuisance. If it's not torn down by a certain date, she will have to pay $1000 for everyday it continues to stand. Chilton is set to appear in court about her home on September 1.

The deadline to register with FEMA is Thursday.

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