One hurricane-related fatality was reported in Daytona Beach on Wednesday. Lack of power remained a major concern as residents bounce back from Irma.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The recovery from Hurricane Irma continued on Wednesday afternoon as many residents were still without power, cleaning up debris and removing downed trees.
Irma’s aftermath in Volusia County turned tragic on Wednesday after one death was reported by the Daytona Beach Police Department.
According to a Daytona Beach police report, the death was due to carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator.
Three women and one man were found unconscious at the Carolina Village Apartments at 400 S. Keech St., Daytona Beach. One of the women died at Halifax Hospital. The other two were in critical condition.
Some damage, flooding
The storm was reported to have damaged 700 buildings at an estimated $25 million in Volusia County. There also was some flooding in the area. In addition, there were plenty of traffic lights still out and some flooding reported around Volusia County.
Minimal damage was reported on Daytona’s beachside although the beaches remained closed Wednesday.
Matthew was worse
Jerome Wiley was cleaning up around his home while a lawn service crew was cutting down a tree in his yard on Tuesday afternoon.
He believes the area was mostly spared from Irma compared to Matthew, which blew through the area in October 2016.
“I think Irma was mild compared to Matthew about a year ago. I think we got spared from this one due to the last-minute shift to the west. Our power was only out for 12 hours. It came back on Monday,” Wiley told the Daytona Times.
“I have friends that live four blocks up the road without power. The only damage from Irma was a tree fell between me and my neighbor’s house. Last year during Matthew, I had roof damage and at my other house. A tree fell on my roof and my truck.”
Wiley said he wasn’t worried during the storm.
“I was actually just sitting in the house and watching television. Right now the cleanup is going well. We should be done by the end of the week. That is better than last year after Matthew it took us two weeks to clean up,” he related.
Tamika Brailsford said she witnessed some damage but wasn’t worried.
“I wasn’t afraid or worried at all. I was at home actually looking out the window to see what the storm was doing,” she told the Times.
“I could still see and hear the rain coming down hard on my window. I saw the storm blow down the fence. Our power finally went out at 6 a.m. after flickering all night.’’
Being without power is the worst experience for many.
Brailsford noted, “I am frustrated that there is no power. It’s hot and the kids are out of school and aggravating us adults.”
Public schools in Flagler and Volusia counties are scheduled to reopen on Monday.
On Wednesday, 631,000 Florida Power & Light (FPL) customers remained without power in Central Florida, including 61,800 customers in Volusia County. Power had been restored to 85,940 customers at the time.
FPL’s public information officer responded to the Daytona Times about restoring power via email on Wednesday.
The email stated, “FPL plans to have everyone on the East Coast restored to power by the end of the weekend, the exception of situations like flooding and tornadoes.”
B-CU remains closed
Most Volusia County government offices remained closed on Wednesday as well as some state offices. However, Daytona Beach City Hall has resumed regular office hours and services.
Bethune-Cookman University remained closed. On its website, a statement to students, faculty and staff reads: “B-CU campus is still closed. We are without power, electrical lines down on campus and have damage to some buildings. We are assessing the conditions due to the storm damage and will notify everyone once the campus has power and is safe to return.”
Daytona State College also announced that its campuses would remain closed until Monday because of power outages. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s classes resumed on Thursday.
The Daytona Beach Ocean Center remained opened on Wednesday as a temporary shelter for hurricane victims.
Meanwhile, stores and businesses were slowly reopening although many were waiting on trucks to bring in goods and commodities.
There also were some reports of price gauging by local businesses both before and after the storm.
“I was at the liquor store on Beville Road a day or two before the storm. The guy there tried to sell me a case of water for $7 when it normally costs $3 dollars. I thought he was out of his mind,” Joneka Prince related.