Hillsborough man caught between county, TECO after tree takes out home’s power lines

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – When Hurricane Irma barreled through the Tampa Bay area, it took down a lot of trees. One of those trees has put a Gibsonton man in the middle of a dispute between Hillsborough County and TECO.

For more than a week now, the 80-year-old resident says he’s not been able to live at home.  A massive tree took out the power lines connected to his home, so he had to evacuate and stay with friends.

His niece, Alexandria Naghtin, is doing everything she can to help her uncle.

“He needs to get back into his home,” she said. “He also needs to see once that tree is removed that if it’s more than just the carport and front porch damaged to his home,” Naghtin said.

She said her uncle first called Hillsborough County for help, but his request was denied. The county says anytime potential live wires are involved, it will not put its workers in jeopardy.

“They can only do so much, ’cause they don’t want to risk possibly getting electrocuted if there is hot wires running through that,” she said.

So her Uncle Frederick then called TECO. The response was that the tree needs to be removed before they can come out to his home, putting Frederick in a catch 22 situation.

Then making the situation even more frustrating, Frederick started getting notices posted on his front door indicating his home was declared an unsafe residence.

“I think he’s gotten two or three code violations since the whole ordeal happened,” said Naghtin.

She believes some simple communication could resolve everything.

“If all these parties could communicate two or three days ago, it would be done and over with, you know. It’s not just his house, but it’s his home and he wants to get back to life and get everything back in order.”

Shortly after 8 On Your Side reached out to TECO, the company sent a trouble shooter to Frederick’s home. The company says if, indeed, there is a TECO wire tangled in the tree, they’ll cut it loose and remove it.

If you have a problem that needs solved, 8 On Your Side is here to try and help. Please reach out to us through our website or social media. We’ll do everything we can to help.

Follow Jenn Holloway on Facebook

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