By Carey Codd

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MARATHON (CBSMiami) — “We got a mess to clean up,” said Brian Reinfandt as he returned with his family to their Marathon home Saturday morning once city and county leaders began letting residents and business owners back in.

He found a mess from storm surge.

“It was up to here, 5 feet,” he points.

There’s mold in his house.

“Another couple of days, it would have been unlivable in here,” he lamented.

On the top floor, flying debris knocked out a window. “You can see how it’s cracked here and cracked up there, so it hit with some extreme force.”

While the house is standing and his family is well-prepared to live there, some of the neighbors are not so fortunate. Brian wonders out loud where three trailers parked nearby may have went.

In Marathon, the military is set up at the airport. There’s a makeshift hospital and even though many homes were spared, many sustained damage.

Power is out and residents cannot drink the water.

City Manager Chuck Lindsey said it was a difficult decision on whether to allow residents and business owners to come back home.

“We have to balance our need to get our folks home so they can start mitigating the damage and then also the safety,” said Lindsey, adding that residents who return need to be prepared to live without power and water, and need to have a plan for shelter.

He’s counting on residents to be resilient.

“Our community pulls together like no other,” Lindsey said. “And we need their help. I really need their help.”

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