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Biden approves federal relief funding months after historic flooding in Massachusetts

President Biden approves federal disaster relief for Leominster after flooding
President Biden approves federal disaster relief for Leominster after flooding 02:57

LEOMINSTER - Good news for homeowners and businesses devastated by record rainfall and flooding eight months ago. The White House has given the green light to federal aid.

"The whole world changed"

"Think about it. At 4:30 on September 11, everything is fine. By 5:00 and 5:30, the whole world changed," said Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella.

It was on that date in 2023 when Leominster was hit with 9 inches of rain in three hours. It left roads torn, a bridge and railroad tracks taken out, and a home hanging over a crater created after a dam breached upstream. A wall of water gushed toward a condominium complex on Pleasant Street.

"I went downstairs and water was shooting through the crack of the door," said condo owner Phil Bennett. "It continued to fill up until about just under 3 feet right under my outlets." His basement is still unlivable after he and his wife spent their savings on materials to replace the walls and floors. The work is on hold, because in January the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), rejected the city's request for disaster relief. Late Wednesday night, Mayor Mazzarella got a phonecall.

"I don't think any of us slept," said Mazzarella. The White House granted the governor's appeal. "I cant find too many times when the appeal was reversed, so that's exciting," he said.

Homeowners and businesses can now apply for aid

The city is prepared to help homeowners and business owners interested in applying for funding. They can do that through or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

There is a limit to the assistance the feds are currently offering. It's only for private homeowners and businesses. The federal government still has not released aid money for more than 30 million dollars worth of damage to roads and infrastructure. 

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