Piles of debris stacking up in Crystal River one week after Hurricane Hermine

Crews to start debris removal Tuesday
Posted at 8:41 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 20:41:17-04

More than one week since Hurricane Hermine impacted more than 500 properties in Crystal River, residents are dealing with stacks and stacks of debris piling up outside their homes. 

It's very difficult on our homeowners right now and our businesses," said Crystal River City Manager Dave Burnell. "Your life is sitting in your front lawn."

A tour of Crystal River revealed a community plagued by debris. 

Just about everything from inside Laura Sullivan's home is out on the curb. Rising flood waters put her stove and fridge underwater. 

"We've had this house for about a year," said Sullivan. "Unfortunately everything that's a year old is now destroyed."

All 18 units at King's Bay Lodge were totaled thanks to Hermine. The furniture, and everything else inside the rental units were placed outside to be hauled to the trash. 

"Anything that had fabric in it, we lost," said Co-owner Gary Shelton. "That was couches, mattresses, box springs."

Shelton predicts Hermine will cost his business at least one month of rentals.  

ABC Action News  has learned, the debris continues to pile up more than one week since the hurricane hit. 

Burnell says the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for two rounds of cleanup. 

City leaders wanted to give residents enough time to scrap what they need. 

"To have as much out as possible before you do the first round and then do a final cleanup," said Burnell.  "So, that little bit of a delay is really to give the people the opportunity to get their stuff out." 

Crystal River city council members approved spending up to $1 million in reserve funds to jumpstart the cleanup process.  Burnell partly attributes the five day delay to finding a FEMA-approved company to do the work.  Once FEMA approves the area for disaster relief, that money will be paid back to the city. 

Workers will start the cleanup process Tuesday. City leaders hope to have all debris removed within 30 days.