Tropicana tornado report—Day #7

FOX 4 Tropicana photo. Jan 23.

 

Paul and Eileen Goldfinger,  Editors Tropicana Forum   (tropicanaforum.net )

 

There is currently a whirlwind of recovery activity going on, and there seems to be some confusion.

Among the players:  Red Cross, Murex, state officials, Tropicana volunteers, FEMA inspectors, private contractors hired by homeowners, other volunteers such as church groups, etc.

The clubhouse is closed because Murex is determined to continue their upgrade plans such as the entrance, mail boxes and the clubhouse.

Large trucks are taking away large pieces of debris, and sometimes they clash with homeowners trying to get around.

The Governor declared a state of emergency, and FEMA has been present inspecting damages.

The Lee County Sheriff says,  “Obviously this is devastating, people’s houses in seconds or minutes are taken from them, but the last thing we want is for someone to prey on those victims of what just took place,” said Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “Every national and federal agency has reached out at every level to help us.”

From the News Press: 

“FEMA would not allow WINK News to join them as they went into homes to survey the damage and could not tell us if this cleanup effort would be federally funded.

“WINK News reached out to the Iona Fire Department because of some of the markings on the damaged houses. They said they were the ones who marked them.

“The Iona Fire Department also explained that they are currently handing out supplies to the Tropicana Mobile Home Community to help people impacted there.

“Thanks to an “overwhelming response,” the fire department says it is also no longer accepting donations to help those impacted by the tornado and thanked everyone who donated.”

From Fox 4:   Jan 22, 2022.

“Spokesperson for Lee County, Betsy Clayton said there was no word on when they will be notified by FEMA or if a declaration from the governor will be made.

“Fox 4 spoke with residents who live at Tropicana Park in Fort Myers. Some said they were still shook up from Sunday’s tornado and are hoping to get assistance soon to fix their homes.

“Governor Ron Desantis signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Lee and Charlotte Counties Friday evening.

“This will allow those impacted by the storms to get limited assistance to repair their homes and properties.

“Fox 4 also reached out to FEMA to get a response on when residents can expect to receive assistance. Fox 4 is still waiting to hear back.”

Rumors are flying about regarding all sorts of issues having to do with insurance coverage, warranty coverage (eg of roof-overs which were torn off in the tornado), extent of damage (ie if a home is “totaled,”) and what to do for the victims who have no homeowners insurance.

There is the belief that Murex sees this as an opportunity to demolish many homes in order to replace them with new units. Note that Murex said that any new homes which have to be brought in will be sold at their cost.

There was rain during the tornado and a significant thunderstorm  yesterday.  You can repair a roof, but the water which came into the home is a set-up for moisture and mold growth in walls, ceilings, floors, etc.

Such water damage can render a home unsalvageable without extensive gutting and rebuilding. We heard of one  resident  who asked a contractor to fix his roof, but because of water damage, the entire roof structure will have to be re-done.

Extensive mold involvement can be remediated, but at a very high cost including removing floors and walls.   It may not be worth the expense for many trailers.

Murex officials have been interviewing residents about their situations.

Tropicanites are cooking every day in the craft building, and the Red Cross is providing food, supplies and housing as needed for victims.

One resident who lives on Camelia Drive, a street that had little damage, suggested that residents who want to return should do so. He said that when he stepped outside today, it was as if nothing had happened.   Of course when he turned the corner onto Palm, it is totally a different story.  But it illustrates how narrowly focused the tornado was.