Homeowners are still not allowed to sleep in their homes Wednesday night four months after Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida.
People living at the Indian Creek RV Resort in Lee County said their power and water are still off since the storm. And to make matters worse, the community’s management told them they can’t stay.
The community told WINK News that the power will not be restored until mid-way through this year at the earliest. They explained the electrical infrastructure was heavily damaged during the storm.
Indian Creek. CREDIT: WINK News
In the meantime, people aren’t allowed to stay, and that’s a problem for those who WINK News spoke with on Wednesday who calls the area home and has since been living in hotel rooms for four months.
Wendi Nelson and her husband moved to the area six years ago after losing a child. They wanted a fresh start. But during the stress of Hurricane Ian, her husband went into heart failure.
“Since I had nothing to go home to in Fort Myers and no power and no water to think about mitigating or rebuilding, I’ve been sitting here as he’s been getting treatment and trying to, you know, get his cardiac situation stabilized,” Nelson said.
They’re living in a hotel while their home is gutted. Nelson was approved for a FEMA trailer to be put next to her home, but there was a problem.
“They can’t be concerned about the safety and well-being of people in temporary housing without power and water,” Nelson said.
No power or water, and the community is not allowing people to stay overnight.
“We’re going to be coming up against the rainy season… which means anything we mitigated and pulled out will be saturated again because there’s no climate control because there’s no power,” Nelson said.
Nelson said some of her neighbors are giving up, but she said the people living there year-round don’t have any other options.
Indian Creek. CREDIT: WINK News
I have the most treasured possession, which is my husband in all of it,” Nelson said as she began crying. “But there’s people that that’s all they have is that little place that they called home.”
Adding insult to injury, Nelson has filed two police reports after she said looters hit what was left of her home. She wants to have her life back to the way it was.
“Everything is in limbo. There’s nothing to go to. There’s no trailer to be put anywhere. There’s no power,” Nelson said.
FPL confirmed to WINK News that the homes are not ready to safely accept power. Lee County told WINK News water infrastructure had been restored, but it’s up to the community to connect its residents.
Below are FPL’s, Lee County’s, and Indian Creek RV Resort’s responses to WINK News.
Before service can be connected to homes that were damaged by Hurricane Ian, it’s imperative that the necessary conditions are met for power to be safely accepted. At this time, these homes are not yet ready to safely accept power.
We have been and will continue to be in contact with the park manager and local electrician as they work to meet the necessary conditions for these homes to safely accept power, including a completed inspection.
Once FPL has been notified these homes can safely accept power, we will work to restore service safely and as quickly as possible. We realize Hurricane Ian victims are looking to return to normalcy as quickly as possible, and we’re committed to restoring service for them as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Indian Creek RV Resort:
Do you know if there is a timeline for when people might expect to have these utilities restored?
“We are 100% committed to restoring the community and bringing it back to the way it was before the storm, and in many cases better. Our initial assessment of the electric infrastructure has determined there are irreparable damages created by the storm to the wiring and power pedestals, which are the electrical housing units used to safely run electricity to the homes. Due to the number of sites, the availability of power pedestals from the manufacturers, and having to work with FPL to activate their grid system once we have the pedestals in place, we anticipate that the repair and replacement process will take us into mid-2023 at a minimum. Currently, no rent is being charged to residents while we restore power.”
Glad you reached out to the power company, as that does not fall under the county. It’s also important that you have reached out to the RV park owners/managers, as they are a private entity.
We can confirm that Lee County Utilities has restored water via its infrastructure to that site, but it’s the responsibility of the RV community to connect the water to the residents.