MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Key West’s famed Duval Street is lined with debris as residents who stayed behind begin what will most likely be a long clean up and recovery process.
Homes and businesses have been damaged, some severely, others destroyed. Trees and power poles uprooted.
Irma was a Category 4 hurricane when it ripped through the low-lying strip of the islands and brought havoc.
Despite the mandatory evacuation orders, some residents chose to stay back.
“We were here. We owned a big house on the ocean which we thought was going to be safe cause it was three stories. The house basically caved in. We barely made it,” said Larry Cumiskey.
His family of six members lost two of their houses and source of livelihood.
“The business is gone. Like I said, we didn’t think we were even going to live through it,” Cumiskey added.
The wind gusts had no mercy with the islands’ mobile homes. Trailer parks in the Lower Keys have all been destroyed.
When asked why the family did not evacuate, Cumiskey’s wife Donna said it didn’t occur to them that the hurricane would be as bad as it was.
“A few reasons – one the business, we didn’t want to leave it and not being able to come back and see it. We have animals. We were worried about breaking down on the way out and being stuck in the car and we really didn’t think it would hit like this to be honest,” she said.
Power is mostly out in Key West and intermittent at best in the Lower Keys. Keys Energy Services, which covers the South end of Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, reports that about 16 percent of their clients now have service in parts of Key West, Stock Island and Key Haven.
In Key West, the sewer treatment facility is now functioning. Anyone with running water or a bucket of water will be able to flush.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m., Key West and Stock Island will have water from stored supplies and the reverse osmosis plant. There is still a precautionary boil water notice in effect for all of the Keys.
Two food and water distribution centers have been set up in Key West. One is at the Sears Town Plaza in New Town and the other is in Bahama Village in Old Town.
The Publix on Key West opened Thursday, but only for limited hours during the day.