KINGSLAND, Ga. - Flooding caused by Hurricane Irma has brought more than just water into the homes of many families on the First Coast. In Kingsland, raw sewage backed up through pipes and flooded into multiple homes there, leaving them uninhabitable as well as families at their wits' end.
"I've never felt completely helpless,” said Kingsland resident and Marine veteran Tex Gill, who lost everything twice in less than a year. "It was like a nightmare coming back."
Gill and his wife Tracey had sewage backed up in their homes during Hurricane Matthew last October and then again from Hurricane Irma.
"I was going to all three tubs frantically over and over again to the point where I was exhausted," he said as he tried to get water out of his house. All they have left is a pile of trash and a house they can’t live in.
"I've moved my wife and kids five times in the last three weeks," he said. "From two attics, to two motel rooms to now a duplex"
In light of his situation, First Coast News asked the mayor of Kingsland, Kenneth Smith, what's being done to ensure it doesn't happen to Gill - and other residents - for a third time.
"A lot of that takes time and it takes money, but we have been in process of that for well over a year and even before Matthew,” Smith said about the city’s efforts to prevent flooding in their neighborhoods.
The Gills said they don’t have the funds to rebuild their home a second time and they’re running out of time at the mercy of others for a place to spend the night.
"I can't give you that answer since you asked that point blank here," Smith said when First Coast News asked where the family could sleep. "I can't give you that answer. That's something that we haven't had time to sit down and talk about."
The Gills aren't the only ones in this situation. Last week, we brought you the story of the Kinseys, how their home also flooded with raw sewage and has since been condemned. A few miles away, the Ramsey family's home was also flooded.
"Rebuild and move back in and keep our fingers crossed, I can't live like that," Gill said afraid that they’ll lose their home again if another storm heads their way.
In the meantime, they have applied for FEMA's home acquisition grant to help families with flood-prone property. They are now waiting for the city to do its part by applying for the grant so residents can be eligible.
"I don't make a lot of promises, but this is one that I will promise you that we'll follow through," Smith said. "I'll make sure that I follow through."
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