First responders recover from Hurricane Matthew

Jessica Clark anchors. 10/25/2016

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- St. Johns County Firefighter John Oliver discovered Hruricane Matthew really damaged his St. Augustine home.

As he walked into the back yard, he mentioned, "A couple trees went down. One went through the roof here."

The storm surge pushed water through his Davis Shores neighborhood.

He pointed to a water line on the outside of his home that was about 2-3 feet high. "Inside the house, there was only 6 inches," Oliver said, "but six inches is two feet. It's all kind of the same once you get water in the house."

Oliver had to gut his house because of mold and electrical concerns. And his fellow firefighters came to the rescue.

"One day we had 15 people her from the fire department, including a chief," Oliver nodded.

All of them helped to gut the house and work on repairs.

But wait, there's more! 

"One guy I work with texted me and said, 'Do you need anything?'  We were staying with a friend. And I said, 'Well, a place to stay.' He said, 'You can stay in my RV.'"

So now, Oliver, his wife, and kids are living in an RV for about two months.

Meanwhile, St. Augustine Police Officer Chris Miller lives across the street from Oliver. "This is a work in progress, but we'll get through it."

"We've been helping each other out. I still have some of his tools," Miller chuckled.

Miller's home was also flooded. His floors buckled. His favorite things -- like a guitar -- are ruined.  And he can't stay at his home either.

"...because we're trying to let it air out, and because of mold. We're trying to pull insulation out. It's probably not the healthiest place to stay," Miller explained.

And again, a colleague came to the rescue.

"Actually, one of my bosses offered me a place at the beach to I'll be staying there," Miller nodded.

These are just two first responders among many who dealt with Hurricane Matthew while at work and then with the storms of life at home all with a little help from some friends.

(© 2016 WTLV)


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