Hundreds of residents at apartment complexes in Carteret County have been evicted from their homes because of roof damage from Hurricane Florence. Now, citizens and Marines are pitching in to try to help people who were displaced pack up their belongings and find somewhere else to live. Jared Brumbaugh was at one of the affected apartment complex in Morehead City yesterday and has this.
On Wednesday morning, restoration workers were removing water logged carpet, tearing out drywall and wiping mold from the walls at Edenbridge Apartments. Belfor restoration technician Owen Maher says their team found microbial growth last week, which prompted the City to evict residents living at the apartment complex.
“There’s bugs on the floor, there’s growth all over the walls in some units. You know, these people don’t really realize that it’s a really bad situation that they’re in. And a lot of them have immune deficiencies, some of them are on oxygen, respiratory issues, and so the faster we can get them out of here, the safer it is for them.”
Maher says some of the units are unsafe for their workers to go into right now because of the extensive damage.
“All the dry wall, all the carpet, all the cabinets, it’s a 100 percent full gut.”
Getting some fresh air outside was 80-year-old resident Peggy Hollandsworth. She says they were told last Thursday that they had to pack up and move their belongings out of their apartment over the weekend.
“We had three days, and Saturday and Sunday you couldn’t call businesses, and we were supposed to be out Monday so the stress on us I think was tremendous.”
Many of the residents at the 40-unit apartment complex are elderly and disabled making the quick evacuation challenging. Before Hollandsworth could start packing boxes, she had to find a storage unit where she could keep her furniture and personal items and someone to help her move. She says the mold in the facility has given her some breathing difficulties.
“You have to compare the danger of the mold threat to the danger of a heart attack, or the stress, or a nervous breakdown, or in my case, my back started yelling from bending over trying to pack so fast. So yes, mold is a danger. But there are other dangers involved of the stress produced from the situation.”
It could be months before the apartment complex is safe to return to. Hollandsworth is staying at the local shelter until she can make long term living arrangements. Other residents from Edenbridge are staying with family or friends.
“FEMA and Red Cross came in and gave some money to individuals in order to get into hotels or to buy food at shelters.”
Pene diMaio is among several Carteret County residents helping individuals and families vacate apartment buildings in Morehead City and Beaufort. diMaio is running for House of Representatives District 13. She says some assistance has been offered to residents, but more needs to be done.
“Facebook down here is whipping with people trying to find houses, people compiling list of the units that they found that are for rent.”
While most of the residents of Edenbridge Apartments have moved out, diMaio says one of the residents, named Jimmy, was reluctant to leave.
“He doesn’t think this is happening, he’s only in his 60’s. But he’s a disabled veteran and chooses to ignore what’s going on. I just went up there and his T.V. is blasting, his food is in his refrigerator, and he’s been sleeping in his car because you can’t sleep in here, you’ll get sick.”
When we got to Jimmy’s apartment, we found the door open and a group of Marines from Cherry Point packing up his belongings inside. Sergeant Kathryn Karamitros says Jimmy had left earlier to try to find a storage unit to store his belongings.
“We showed up to the door and he was actually very welcoming and we told him we were Marines and he related to that, he’s a vet. So it’s heartwarming for us as well to be able to get out here and help out someone who dedicated time to their country as well. So… he had a lot of things packed up but still many things strewn about the counters.”
Once they’re done here, Karamitros says they’ll help Jimmy unload his belongings at the storage unit.
“A couple of the Marines brought their larger vehicles, so we’ve got a couple of trucks, a couple of SUV type and we’re just loading everything up as much as we can.”
In the coming days, restoration crews will start mitigation and demolition work, which is expected to take 3-4 weeks. Reconstruction could take an additional two months. Leases for residents at Edenbridge Apartments have been terminated, and security deposits and prorated rent were returned.
Carteret County opened a donation center yesterday to collect supplies for hurricane recovery efforts. The donation and distribution center is located at the Cypress Bay Shopping Center on Highway 70 in Morehead City.