Thursday, November 10, 2005
That's Just Wrong: No Help After Wilma
As we all know, Hurricane Wilma nearly wiped out south Florida. But as communities keep cleaning up, we hear stories where residents can't rely on utility companies. In one neighborhood, one mother says nobody will help her remove twisted metal from cables behind her house. Now, she says thats just wrong.
It's the storm that stopped south Florida in its tracks. While many people underestimated Wilma, Debbie Sedaka knew it was going to be bad.
Debbie Sedaka: We just saw windows flying. We didn't know where they were coming from.
But its not just what she saw, Debbie also heard anything and everything slamming against her home.
Then when the winds died down ... She found debris everywhere.
Debbie Sedaka: We found lunch boxes and all different kinds of hooks and nails and tools. And we saw the windows. We saw pieces of aluminum... We didn't know what it was yet.
Turns out it was a shed from her neighbors yard.
Most of it hanging like a sheet on a clothes line over the cables that run behind her house.
Debbie Sedaka: We weren't sure if it's on a power line or a phone line, so nobody wanted to touch it.
Not only did none of the adults want to touch it, but Debbie doesn't want her daughter Alexa getting hurt.
Debbie Sedaka: I don't let her play back here, because I'm afraid that's going to swing out and just hit her in the head.
Which could be exceptionally dangerous considering all that twisted metal has razor sharp edges.
For Alexa, the shed makes her shudder. She cringes every time the wind blows. And the twisted metal makes a horrible sound.
Debbie Sedaka: It's loud. We have to be careful.
So careful, Debbie spent two weeks calling FPL to remove the shed, but when she finally got a repsonse, she was told it was hanging from a phone line not a power line.
Debbie Sedaka: I contacted Bell South and Bell South did not take any responsibility. They told me it's the homeowners responsibility, to remove the shed.
On top of that, Debbie was also told if she did damage the line while removing the shed she would have to pay for it.
Now, she says that's just wrong.
Debbie Sedaka: Bell South is just sitting back and not taking on any responsibility due to a hurricane.
When 7 News called Bell South, a spokesperson told us they only remove debris if the phone line is damaged and not working. Debbie’s phone is fine.
But when we called the Florida Public Service Commission, they told us if anything from the house was out, it was the utilities’ responsibility.
When we told Bell South that, a truck was dispatched and the shed was removed.
Now, Debbie can let Alexa play in the backyard again…And hopefully join the rest of us trying to remember what life was like before Wilma.
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