Hurricane Irma debris posing road and critter hazard

Hurricane Irma debris cleanup slow to begin
Posted at 12:17 AM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 11:18:40-04

Debris is still lining the streets in the Tampa Bay area two weeks after Hurricane Irma swept through. It is starting to look like part of the landscaping.

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"It's not picked up," said Tampa resident Yisenia Abrahantes, who is concerned about kids playing in the debris piles lining neighborhood streets. "I have a friend that found a poisonous snake in a pile of stuff and it's just super dangerous."


James Vestal lives across the bridge in St. Petersburg. He says it is the same story there.

"I ended up just cleaning it up myself," said Vestal. "We were fortunate not to have any large pieces of debris in our yard but some neighbors around here absolutely did."

According to officials in St. Petersburg and Tampa, sub-contractors hired to haul it out after the storm are working in South Florida where they were offered more money for their services.

Governor Rick Scott says his office is receiving complaints of price gouging and contractors not fulfilling their contracts.

St. Petersburg says city workers are being shifted into debris removal positions for now. They already cleared 7,000 cubic yards of debris so far. The city says homeowners will start seeing those efforts vamping up this week.

"It's been two weeks and a lot of people need to get on with their lives and decide what they're going to do with their yards," said Vestal adding, "It can be a road hazard so I needs to get done."

Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking sub-contractors from around the country to contact the Florida Department of Transportation if they are willing to offer debris removal at a reasonable price.