Flagler Beach residents try to recover items after homes flooded by Irma

By Brittany Jones , Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, September 24, 2017, 10:23 PM EDT

Nearly two weeks later, Flagler Beach residents are still trying to save things in homes that were flooded by Hurricane Irma.

  • Many Flagler Beach homes flooded during Irma
  • Residents are trying to recover items from homes
  • Volunteers have helped with cleanup efforts

For the last ten days, the community has come out in droves to help. 

"You never know what's going to come floating by," said Bill Egan, a flood victim.

Egan still has a sense of humor even though mold continues to grow after Irma's flood waters saturated his home.

"I lived in my car for 10 days," he said.

Now Egan has returned to go through the things he has left as volunteers helped to clean up.

He and the volunteers found everything from messages in a bottle to old family pictures and his 77-year-old baby shoes. Egan said the feelings of nostalgia at his home of 40 years are starting to sink in.

"It has a lot of memories here going way back," he said.

Egan is one of hundreds of people in Flagler Beach who nearly lost everything and are in need of help.

"I walked on the bridge and looked down and saw no lawn no streets it was like this house was in the middle of a lake," said Egan.

Piles of residents’ belongings, carpet, and sheet rock line the streets where Egan lives off Moody Boulevard.

He said he's been touched by those helping him with his home.

Colleen Conklin organized a community clean-up right after Irma hit. She started listing homes that needed help on Facebook and people responded.

"There were just a band of soggy warriors that I have been calling them now that have come together to answer the call," said Conklin. "Our group came in and really focused on wet carpet, wet furniture, we can help do that. You have older folks literally sitting on wet furniture running ac units or running fans thinking they are going to dry out their carpet or dry out their home."  

Conklin said some places in the area look untouched but many were hit with floods.

"If you leave these streets and you drive to A1A and drive a mile over the bridge it looks like there's no problem in Flagler Beach," she said. "It looks like it's a normal day at the beach the issue is complete devastation has happened in this community."

Egan said he is a retired Navy journalist and still grateful to have the opportunity to write another chapter of his life.

"It means a lot and the thing is I know that they're not just rallying around me they're all up and down the street. It was a horrible thing for us to go through but at the same time it's uplifting to see so many people who care," he said.

Egan is staying in a hotel since his home is too toxic to return to.

The mayor said people are in need of shelter. For others without a place to stay, eventually they'll need furniture donated once there is a place to store items.

Food donations to restock local pantries to help these victims are also needed.