LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Thousands of homeowners in Livingston Parish have been gr anted permits to rebuild following the historic flood.
The process has gotten a lot faster since teams of inspectors from the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office and a few others from Tennessee stepped in to help.
Terry Singleton is one of them. On Friday, he made his rounds through some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Livingston Parish. He walked through gutted residences and made sure the homeowner has met all the requirements necessary to begin rebuilding.
"What all the experts recommend is at least 18 inches above the water line, that you pull everything that's wet out, and it looks like you've done that," Singleton told a homeowner.
Singleton checked to make sure the correct amount of drywall has been removed, that the electrical outlets were not impacted, and that the moisture levels in the studs are below 15 percent.
"That lower plate that sits on the lower flooring is probably the last to dry out. Probably that's the most common thing we are finding," Singleton said.
Singleton is a supervisor for the West Tennessee District Fire Marshal's Office. Singleton and five other deputy marshals from Tennessee have been called to help State Fire Marshal Butch Browning's team of 25 to inspect residences and issue permits.
"Our wisdom has always told us that after the fact, it's a mad rush to get permits to get buildings, to get building material. So we did not want that to be a holdup," Browning said.
The parish has waived permitting fees and extended office hours. Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said the teams of fire marshals have been instrumental in the recovery process.
"We have a lot of do-it-yourself kind of people in Livingston, like I'm sure many parishes do, and they are not wasting any time. As soon as they know their homes are dry, they are ready to get that sheetrock back up," Ricks said.
The sooner they do that, the faster they can return home and begin helping the parish recruit more revenue. Inspectors said it appears they are headed in the right direction.
With the help of the out of town deputy marshals, Ricks said the parish has been able to do an average of 400 inspections each day.