Broken drain poses danger to NFM disabled vet

Posted at 11:43 PM, Jun 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-13 07:19:08-04

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. --- A disabled Vietnam veteran is pleading to get a storm drain in front of his North Fort Myers home fixed, after rain has caused severe flooding all around his home over the last two months.

Flooding at Tom Smith Sr.'s home is so bad, he is trapped inside the Pioneer Village mobile home when it starts raining. The family even stacks sandbags around the home to try to absorb water, with little success.

Last week, his son, Tom Smith Jr., lost several items to flooding. However, his main concern is the safety of his father, who is disabled because of a stroke. The water makes it impossible for the veteran, who uses a walker, to get out of the house. "He can't go anywhere. He can't just leave, get in his car, go to the VA to go to a doctors appointment," said Tom Smith Jr. "He's just confined to this little space."

Their biggest fear is Tom Sr. having a medical emergency and not being able to leave, or EMS having access issues into the mobile home. "With that, it's tough," Tom Sr. said referring to the flooding.

The family has tried to get management at Pioneer Village, an Encore RV resort, to fix the storm drain several times during the last two months, but feel they have never gotten a clear answer. 

A Lee County map shows the roads inside the Pioneer Village community are privately owned by a company called Bayshore - Fisher LLC. However, management at the park has continuously told the family maintenance of the storm drain is a "corporate issue." 

Fox 4 reached out to the company that owns Encore RV resorts, Equity Lifestyle Properties, but have not heard back yet. As the rainy season approaches, the family fears if the drain is not repaired, the flooding could cause a tragedy. "That's the scary thing," said Tom Jr. "You don't know if it's going to get fixed in a week, six months, a year. I don't know how big the corporate level is and how long it will take to get a job like that done."

Fox 4 will continue pushing for answers and update this story when the company replies to our inquiry.