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Thirty feet of Hurricane Irma debris pile living in neighbors' backyard

Posted at 6:40 PM, May 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-28 22:48:03-04

UPDATE -- The company who owns the near 30 feet Hurricane Irma debris pile on First St. and Howell Ave., says Lee County isn't giving permission to get rid of it and slowing down the process. 

“If they won’t let us grind, then they can have the keys to the place, because it is going to end up to catch on fire," said Denise Houghtaling, Vice President of MW Horticulture Recycling. 

Houghtaling says she's been trying to work with the County to get the legal permission she needs to grind the pile down, but can't seem to get approved to do the job. 

“You have to grind it. There is no, oh, take it in and haul it out," she said. 

Fox 4 confronted the County with issue. They provided this statement: 

“Lee County confirmed it is aware of the situation and is coordinating regulatory entities.” 

One neighbor lives within feet of the pile. He says he's been hospitalized because of it. 

“At night the due settles in and screws up my breathing.” he explained. "The more it sits and the more it rains the more it’s going to rot.” 

Houghtaling says it's going to take three to six months to clean up if the weather cooperates. She says it will cost around $100,000. All of which, she says, she's begging the County for. 


NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A small brush fire in North Fort Myers is now under control. The fire was about .25 acres. A pile of debris left over from Hurricane Irma sparked the fire. It happened at the intersection of Howell Street and 1st Avenue.

Firefighters say even though it rained Monday, the inside of the pile stayed hot and caught fire. The owner of the pile says it will take 3 to 6 months to finish clearing the pile.