By Cass Rains
The Moore American
MOORE — Like many others offering their hand in the wake of the May 20 tornado, companies are extending their hands.
The May 20 tornado struck the First American Title office on the South Interstate 35 Service Road, leaving thousands of records sopping wet. The operations affected by the storms have been moved to 705 26th Ave. NW in Norman.
Most abstract offices keep legal records pertaining to a particular parcel of land. Mortgages, deeds, wills, probate records, court litigation and tax sales are often kept by the companies.
Cleveland County Abstract President Jack DeArmon said his company and another office in town have offered their records and databases to First American Title.
“We extended our help as far as offering up our records, if they needed to check anything in Cleveland County,” he said. “Basically, we just said whatever they needed we can provide.”
DeArmon said the offer was made because if it happened to his compnay, he’d want the same offer made for him.
“I feel absolutely terrible for them,” he said. “We’re just here to help if they need us.”
DeArmon said he hasn’t fielded any requests yet but expects that could change. He said most companies are trying to go digital, but it is a time-consuming effort.
“It’s just a great undertaking to take all the paper records and put them on disc,” he said. “There is still a lot of paper out there. We still do abstracts, and that has a lot of paper and our closing files require a lot of paper.”
Cleveland County Clerk Tammy Belinson said her office has seen about three dozen people coming in for copies of deeds.
“We have had a few who have come in for copies of their deeds and, of course, we are working closely with the city of Moore to get them the addition’s information on restrictions and regulations,” she said. “We’ve probably had maybe three dozen so far. A lot of them are still out cleaning up debris.”
Belinson said her offce is providing records for tornado victims free of charge. She said victims need to be wary of companies advertising to obtain copies for $80 to $90.
“It would only cost $1 here, $3 if it were certified,” she said. “They’ve done it before, it’s not just because of the tornado.”
Belinson said her office was willing to assist First American with their records recovery. “We’re going to work with First American with whatever they need, as far as records are concerned.”