NewsLocal NewsCharlotte County


Port Charlotte veteran seeks help as blue tarp roof does little to keep out the leaks

Posted at 11:37 PM, Nov 10, 2022

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Blue tarps are a familiar sight for many residents in Southwest Florida since Hurricane Ian swept their roofs aside.

Many of those tarps being installed by the Army Corps of Engineers. It’s now been six weeks since Ian and not all tarps are holding up. Some leaking rain water, like one homeowner in Port Charlotte causing more distress.

Not only is the homeowner upset but they feel let down. He’s a retired Lieutenant Colonel who says he used to speak with the utmost confidence about the Army Corps of Engineers. That was until today.

"A week ago, a humdinger of rain came through and that’s when we found out that the tarp had failed. It was pouring in like a waterfall.”

It’s something Jim Rafferty thought he wouldn’t have to experience again after Hurricane Ian.

"We’re able to sleep okay and take showers and the bathroom facilities are intact," he says. "But the rest of the house is as you see it.”

His Port Charlotte home completely stripped of its former self. Walls and roof non-existent as pots and pans lay scattered throughout the home, collecting water from up above.

"We’ve got it dried out and removed but we’ve had trouble ever since.”

That trouble coming from the blue tarp that was installed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“It looked like the house had been bombed," said Cathy Rowley, Jim’s daughter. "The roof and ceiling had been caved in. Ian peeled off the entire roof. In the back down to the plywood and then in the front down to tar paper and plywood.”

Cathy recounts seeing her father’s home the first time after Ian. Since that time, she’s been with him every step of the way contacting the Corps to get his roof fixed.

"Our push from that point is can you please come back and re-tarp what you’ve tarped so that it doesn’t leak in that area? That’s all we wanted them to do and the answer, at first, was silence and then just no. No, no, no, no, no.”

Rafferty's family members are anxious to see him for the holidays. And as much as he wants to see them, he says that may have to wait for the time being.

"Thanksgiving is coming up, Christmas is coming up," said Rafferty. "And the only answer I can give them is it’s a day-by-day thing. So we’re doing the best we can.”

Rafferty says he has reached out to Congressman Greg Steube as well as the governor’s office hoping for a solution. He also has a general contractor but until the roof is repaired, nothing can be done.