FULTON - A Fulton woman's second home in Chokoloskee, Florida, 25 miles south of Naples, was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma.
Kathy Kronk says a nine foot water surge rushed into her home, putting about three and a half feet of water throughout the whole house, destroying everything it reached.
“Everything that was on the floor in the house is just tumbled and it’s all shoved back from the water side into the kitchen," she said. "I have shelves up on the wall that still have the knick-knacks on them. But everything at ground level, washer, dryer, all the kitchen cabinets everything just looks like someone took a bulldozer inside.”
Kronk described it as maximum damage.
“On a one to ten, it’s a ten. It’s a mess but we’ll hopefully be able to redo it from the inside out, and then whatever we’ve got to have, roofing, siding all the interior walls. You can see the dirt in my living room, you can see the floor is ripped out because that’s where that water came up and just popped it out.”
Kronk travels to her Florida home every year from November to April. Last year, she was excitedly remodeling her home. This year, she’ll go a few weeks earlier than normal, this time to clean up.
Kronk’s son lives not far from her Chokoloskee home and started gutting the house Wednesday so a bulldozer can come pick up the debris.
A friend from Fulton jumped in his car Wednesday morning with a truck full of supplies and tools to drive to Florida to help with the clean up. Kronk said he called and offered to drive down.
“In times like this, that’s just what people do. They drop everything and help,” she said.
Kronk said she’s one of the lucky ones because her house sits about four feet above the ground. Many neighbors lost almost everything. Manufactured homes or RVs were a total loss.
Kronk has had a home in Florida for more than 20 years. Her first home went through Hurricane Charlie, Andrew and Wilma. She and her late husband bought her current Florida home four years ago.
The clean up process will take months, but Kronk says, right now, the neighborhood needs power, safe drinking water and fuel for cars.
She said anyone who can jump in their car, drive down and offer elbow grease would be welcome, especially by older people in the area.
Kronk said there are other ways to help, too.
“There’s churches on the islands that do a food pantry every week and there’s people who are going to need that more than ever," she said. "So you can contact those churches or they have a chamber of commerce you can actually make donations through one of those entities and you can be assured that the donations will go directly to the people.”