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Firefighters, code enforcement warn about dangers of keeping hurricane shutters up

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 18:43:24-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — It's been more than a month since Hurricane Dorian threatened South Florida, yet many homes in our area still have hurricane shutters up.

Drive around and you'll see them all over Port. St. Lucie. But code enforcement wants to change that.

"It’s essentially safety. People get caught behind shutters, a fire breaks out, they can’t get out of their home," said code compliance specialist Bill Mahoney.

Mahoney is sounding the alarm about the threat that hurricane shutters pose during a fire. He's now going home to home, warning residents to take their shutters down, or face fines.

RELATED: When to take hurricane shutters down | Are renters or landlords responsible for taking shutters down?

Just this week in Palm Beach County, a Royal Palm Beach woman made desperate call to 911 asking for help after flames broke out in her home.

"I need somebody over here right now," she said in the 911 call.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue saved the woman and her cat. But Capt. Albert Borroto said hurricane shutters made the job more difficult.

"The fact that they had the shutters up prohibited the firefighters from being able to see that there was smoke inside when they gained entrance into the home," said Capt. Borroto.

Mahoney said if homeowners in Port St. Lucie don't comply with the warning, they could be fined $100.