Disaster shifts to recovery phase


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 INDIANAPOLIS

Workers began clearing bricks, siding and other debris from the devastated Richmond Hill neighborhood as the focus shifted toward long-term recovery.

Indianapolis city officials worked to get residents counseling and continued to let the owners of severely damaged homes come back to get essentials such as prescription medicine and toothbrushes. Power has been restored to all but six homes in the neighborhood off Sherman Drive on the southside.

The city also has established a command center nearby.

The investigation continues, and federal pipeline investigators returned Tuesday to Washington after no gas leaks were found.

“We are transitioning from the response phase to the recovery phase,” Indianapolis Fire Department spokeswoman Rita Burris said in a statement. “At this time, the scene has been secured, and the focus of our emergency management efforts is on recovery and helping the displaced residents.”

Indianapolis established a command center at Richmond Hill on Tuesday because the city expects to be working in the neighborhood for several more weeks, given the size of the affected area.

The city is looking at providing whatever services it can to area residents, Burris said. Fire department chaplains, the American Red Cross and a nonprofit group started to provide counseling and emotional support to victims.

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