One month after the Lime Rock Road wildfire burned 36 homes in the Eastpoint neighborhood of Ridge Road and Wilderness Road, and did an estimated $1.7 million in damage, a lot has happened.
And, to use a cliché, it’s all good.
Six residents have received permanent mobile homes, courtesy of a GoFundMe site set up right after the June 24 fire by Sheriff A.J. Smith, which so far has received over $110,000 in donations. These mobile homes have been given to James Boone, at 599 Ridge Rd.; Lucy Bettinger, 697 Ridge Rd.; Phillip Holian, 686 Ridge Rd.; Earl Moses, 640 Ridge Rd,; Belinda Nowling, 674 Ridge Rd. and Paul Sanders, 582 Ridge Rd.
About half of the 24 temporary housing trailers, once used to house victims of hurricanes in the Keys, and purchased from a government surplus auction by Capital Area Community Action, have been filled with displaced families. The remaining dozen remain staged on the county school district property on Hwy 65 in Eastpoint.
County emergency management officials say the temporary trailers will be loaned to these families for a period of six months to allow time for permanent housing solutions.
Among those eligible to the trailers are residents who include Charles Granger, 587 Wilderness Rd,; Glen Woodall, 605 Wilderness Rd.; Billy Dalton, 658 Ridge Rd,; Carol Dasen,615 Ridge Rd.; William Banks, 638 Ridge Rd.; Mary Thomas, 633 Ridge Rd.; Tommy Gorski, 588 Ridge Rd.; Luther Glass, 595 Ridge Rd.; Shawn Boatwright/ Ortega, 601 Ridge Rd.; Dennis Riner/Thornburg, 667 Ridge Rd.; James Joyner, 701 Ridge Rd.; Arlene Thompson, 714 Buck Street; Amanda Hall, 621 Wilderness Rd.; Stephanie Johns, 675 Ridge Rd.; Hope Savage, 691 Ridge Rd.; Michael Boone, 599 Wilderness Rd.; Nellar, 624 Ridge Rd.; Carrie Richards, 674 Wilderness Rd.; Henry Parramore, 658 Ridge Rd.; Nowling, 579 Ridge Rd.; William Hattaway and Melanie Cooper, 607 Wilderness Rd.; and Matt and Paula Polous, 605 Ridge Rd.
“We are asking that anyone who was an unauthorized secondary resident and your home was destroyed to please contact Franklin County Emergency Management to discuss your options for temporary housing assistance,” reads a release this week from the emergency management office.
Federal and state fees, which cannot be waived for permitting, are being covered by donations received by the county’s long-term recovery organization, Franklin’s Promise Coalition. The county has waived all possible local permitting fees to assist impacted residents.
Emergency management said all residents requiring a power pole, with the exception being 588 Ridge Road which chose not to clear their lot, have received a power pole, installed by Cates Electric, with meters installed by Duke Energy. Duke did not require connection fees for reconnecting the poles, which were purchased with donations received by the county.
The Eastpoint Water and Sewer District, and Varner Plumbing worked together to get all temporary housing connected to water and sewer, once again with those reconnection fees covered by donations.
The debris was removed by volunteer contractors Roberts and Roberts, Jason White, Coastline, the city of Tallahassee, and Sapp Brothers Logging, with the assistance of the county road department. The county waived all tipping fees.
Temporary housing trailers are being stocked with move-in kits which include sheets, pillows, pillow cases, blankets, towels, dishes, silverware, coffee pot, glasses, laundry basket, broom, mop, cleaning supplies, garbage cans, and more, all stored on space donated by the city of Carrabelle at the city complex, and sorted by volunteers.
“Due to the extremely heartwarming volume of donations received, we are no longer accepting donations other than monetary at this time,” said the release from emergency management. That asked that donations be dropped off or mailed to Franklin County Emergency Management, 28 Airport Road, Apalachicola, FL 32320, with checks made payable to Franklin’s Promise with a note they are for the Eastpoint Fire.
The Carrabelle Donation Receiving Center is open by appointment only. Appointments should be made by calling Tamara Allen at 850-524-1153.
Two tractor trailers, donated by Peggy Miller and Mike and Paige Richards, are being used to store donations at the Eastpoint Fire House, and items from them are being regularly distributed onsite by Franklin’s Promise.
In addition, Franklin’s Promise has started a special Back to School family adoption program that involves buying school clothes for the children in an affected family. Families range from one to five children, and Franklin’s Promise has a database that includes all children and their sizes.
For more information, call Elinor Mount-Simmons at 323-0544.