Special Needs Center In Fort Lauderdale Gets Power Back After 9 Days

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – At the Ann Storck Center in Fort Lauderdale all was dark Monday morning.

The non-profit child and adult day care and residential care center provides services for more than 100 physically and mentally challenged clients, but was providing nothing nine days after Irma. No power.

“It’s just not right, and we don’t understand. We have called every single day, we’ve had other people calling, and we don’t understand why our power’s not on now,” said Ann Storck CEO Charlotte Mather-Taylor.

One state lawmaker has been calling FPL on behalf of the center since well into last week. He is also calling for an investigation of the utility’s failure and response after Irma.

“Absolutely,” Rep. George Moraitis, R-Fort Lauderdale said if he need for a legislative and regulatory investigation of FPL. “This is unacceptable that a facility like this would not have been a much higher priority.”

The empty wheelchairs and darkened rooms spoke of care and therapy denied young and adult mostly low-income clients, but also hardship for their families.

“The families are also losing income by having to stay home to provide the care for their children and their adults,” said Stacy Verity, a program director for Anne Storck.

Using a generator, the center did manage to squeeze some 50 residential clients into an air-conditioned building that is designed to accommodate just 16.

Just before noon, an FPL assessment crew finally made an appearance at the center for disabled children and adults. It was the first sign of the power company, long after Irma’s tropical storm force winds blew through.

Rep. Moraitis said he called FPL Monday to tell them a CBS4 News crew was coming to cover the story.  It’s not clear to what extent that call regarding media coverage may have hastened FPL’s response.

Power to the Ann Storck Center was restored late afternoon Monday but a number of homes in the neighborhood remained in the dark. An FPL worker said “many” power lines were down that come from the main line that feeding the area.

More from Gary Nelson
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