Flooded Pasco residents return home to survey damage

Pasco County lifted the recommended evacuation order Wednesday night

Flood victims Annabella and Mariano Mont.

PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) —  When Stephen Hatfield looks at his garage filled with waterlogged possessions, all he can do is shake his head.

“All of our personal possessions were in here.  I’ve been hauling off to the dump for two days now.  It’s crazy,” said Hatfield, who moved into the mobile home just two weeks ago with his wife.

When Pasco County urged residents to evacuate from the Suncoast Gateway Mobile Village, his wife left with the couple’s dog and Stephen stayed.  He moved what he could into the home, but other possessions couldn’t be moved quickly enough.

“Probably all of our family photographs.  What we couldn’t pull into the house on short notice,” said Hatfield.  “Wife has some pictures, photographs of the kids growing up, things like that.  Probably lost forever, I’m sure.”

On Saturday, the Pasco County Emergency Operations Center recommended that residents evacuate. First responders helped some leave the park in boats. The EOC lifted the recommended evacuation order last night.  Residents returned on Thursday to survey the damage.

RELATED: Hurricane Hermine caused nearly $90 million damage in Pasco

Mariano and Anabella Mont also lost many of their possessions.  The couple recently moved from the Westchase area in Hillsborough County, looking to downsize.  The park was their retirement paradise, a paradise now under water.

“We fixed everything. We bought this about three months ago.  We fixed the floor, everything,” said Mariano.  “We bought a new AC.”

The couple evacuated the park last Wednesday as Tropical Storm Hermine approached.  They came back over the weekend and saw their home had been flooded.

“Our damage is the air conditioning, two cars, the washer and dryer are outside,” said Anabella, pointing to the laundry room.  “I imagine they are broke.”

A number of cars also suffered flood damage.  Kathrine Stone’s brand new KIA was one of them.  She hasn’t touched her bright red beauty since the flood waters receded.  “The insurance people, they wanted me to open it up and clean it out. See the steam?”  asked Stone.  “And I told them I’m not touching it until they get here and look at it.”

The question many residents have is “What is being done to prevent this from happening again?”  A representative with the park’s management told News Channel 8 the park’s owner has an engineer working on a long-term plan to improve the park’s drainage.  Right now, there’s no word on if and when that plan will be put into place.

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