Floods damage Rockford area

Lisa Woodard walks away from her car with the help of Rockford firemen on a flooded Charles Street in Rockford, Ill., Monday, Sept. 4. The Associated Press

Lisa Woodard walks away from her car with the help of Rockford firemen on a flooded Charles Street in Rockford, Ill., Monday, Sept. 4. The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich requested federal assistance Monday for Rockford area residents whose homes and businesses were damaged by recent flooding.

The federal assistance would include low-interest loans to help the homeowners, renters and business people recover from their losses.

“I’m asking the federal government to quickly grant our request so that people can get some of the help they need to put the pieces back together again,” Blagojevich said in a statement.

Hundreds of residents were displaced from their homes on Sept. 4 after stormy weather dumped four to six inches of rain on the city, causing flash floods.

Fire officials said water rose as much as eight feet in some parts of the city. Rescue workers used boats to remove some residents from their homes and pull others out from the chilly water.

Blagojevich declared Winnebago County and Rockford a state disaster area.

To qualify for the federal assistance, an area must have more than 25 homes or businesses that have uninsured losses of at least 40 percent or more of their pre-disaster fair market value.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration have all visited the flooded areas to assess the damage.