Acreage tornado victims waiting for cleanup

Residents concerned about debris piles

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. - It was one week ago. "We got in the closet and just sat in the corner and just prayed," said Tania Ward. She and her husband, John, grabbed their six month old twin girls and held on as a tornado barreled right through their Loxahatchee property. "I sat there and was just thinking that I don't even know what we are going to walk out to," she said.

What the Wards and their neighbors could see through shattered windows were trees ripped from the ground, power lines down and debris in every direction.

Seven days later, and most of that debris sits on their curb and in front of homes all over their neighborhood, waiting for pick-up.

"The fear of this getting thrown back into our house, getting thrown into neighbors houses, scattered across the road," said John.

The Solid Waste Authority is charged with collecting the debris, but so far has yet to increase collection levels for these residents.

John Archambo, Director of Customer Relations for SWA, says it only picks up six cubic yards of debris per household. That is about the size of a typical refrigerator.

Mr. Ward says the response has not yet been great enough, when he and his neighbors have much more material to deal with.

"Being this tornado is outside of the norm, you would think they would be more proactive in cleaning up some of this stuff," he said. "There's just no reason why it needs to sit for weeks on end."

The Solid Waste Authority says there are new plans to move and and help these storm-ravaged residents.

At least two additional trucks will soon head to the area. It is a process that will cost about $30,000. The additional pick-ups will come at no cost to the residents.

The collection of the debris in the immediate area could take up to two weeks, according to Archambo.

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