FEMA denies individual assistance for Malden residents

MALDEN, Wash. — Individual assistance for residents of the destroyed town of Malden has been denied by FEMA.

Malden was almost completely leveled in the Babb Road Fire, which was declared a disaster by the federal government on Thursday. This freed up funding for public assistance and hazard mitigation, which includes fixes like rebuilding a fire station, a post office, roads, powerlines and general cleanup.

Residents have been waiting five months for more targeted assistance from FEMA, but that request was denied.

According to the rejection letter, sent to Governor Inslee, it was determined that “the impact to the individuals and households from this event was not of such severity and magnitude to warrant the designation” of a disaster.

Nearly all the homes in Malden were destroyed.

The Town of Malden and the Pine Creek Long-Term Recovery Organization say they are “deeply disappointed” with the decision and disagree with it.

Gov. Inslee now has 30 days to appeal the decision; in the meantime, Malden residents are still reliant on charities and the Small Business Administration.

4 News Now reached out to the Governor’s Office for comment and received a statement:

Individual Assistance is unfortunately a very difficult form of assistance to secure from the federal government regardless of administration. Washington State has only received individual assistance once in the last decade – for the SR 530 landslide. Our application was appropriate and we are saddened that the community won’t get this assistance, but it was always going to be a difficult bar to reach. We remain appreciative of the federal government’s approval of public assistance, which will go toward much needed repairs for damaged infrastructure.

RELATED: ‘We’re not going anywhere’: Malden’s on the path to rebuilding with disaster declaration