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Neighborhood struggles under mountains of storm debris

Posted at 10:50 PM, Sep 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 22:50:13-04

Collier County officials estimate there is 4 million cubic feet of debris left over from Hurricane Irma, about the size of 74 football fields.

They've only cleared a small portion of it so far, not news Naples residents want to hear.

"You've got furniture and mattresses covered in mold," said David Raffa.

He's frustrated over the piles of debris still in his neighborhood weeks after Irma roared through Collier County

"Decaying, getting worse and worse," said Raffa.

David lives on Cooper Drive, off Goodlette-Frank Road.
The area flooded weeks before Irma, and then again during the storm,  wiping out everything Kenneth Vaughn owns.

"This is my home, from Irma.  Irma came through and ended up putting my whole house on the street," said Vaughn.

Raffa is worried about all that debris contaminating the ground if it rains, even if it stays dry there are other problems.

"All the dry debris is a fire hazard, one careless cigarette thrown into this debris, and it's basically a giant fuse going down the street."

County officials say Irma produced 4 times the amount of debris than Hurricane Wilma did more than a decade ago.

Cleaning it up will take some time.

"A monumental task that  we have in front of us.  It's going to require the community to have some patience," said District 2 Commissioner Andy Solis.

But for vaughn, whose lived in this community for 47 years, his patience with the county is running thin.

"Nobody has come through and checked on us.  It's like we are the black sheep of the family.  Nobody cares about what happened over here."

County officials are urging residents not to pile debris over storm drains, or the neighborhood will flood when it rains.