GENEVA, Fla. - New video shows how much flooding there is inside several homes in Geneva, Florida. Residents brought FOX 35 News into their flooded homes by boat to see the devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Couches, beds, refrigerators, and much more inside their homes are underwater.
People are using canoes, boats, and kayaks to get into their homes to salvage what they can. "There's a lot of cleanup to do," said Bob Boulangei. "I know we lost everything, but trying to keep that hope alive -- we can move this and this."
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Residents in the area report that homes in Geneva near Lake Harney have been evacuated. Our news crew measured four feet of standing water in front of one of the homes and saw alligators and snakes in the water.
"Never in my mind would I have imagined it would be this bad. And it came up so fast that people had very little time to get vehicles out," said resident John Carter.
Sewage threatens homes flooded out in Kissimmee
About 40 miles southwest of Geneva, flooding has also been a concern in Kissimmee. Residents of the 55-plus community at The Good Samaritan Villages said while they have experienced flooding before, it's never been this bad. Hundreds of homes in the senior living community were devastated by the floodwaters. Some areas have standing water that is still chest-deep.
"I lost everything. I’m 75 years old. My wife and I have lost everything," said David Barger. Barger has lived and worked in the community for 18 years. On Saturday, he and his wife packed what they could to catch a ride out of their flooded home with Osceola deputies. "Water just kept going up and up and up," he add. "By the time we left it was feet from the front porch."
Authorities were out surveying the damage. They collected water samples to see if the water has mixed with sewage. If so, it still might not be safe to return home after the waters disappear.
"If it’s shot, if all the floors are destroyed, and it’s in the house, you don’t want stuff that is soaked with sewage," said Barger.
Osceola County officials said the community was evacuated, leaving hundreds in need of shelter. Some received help during the evacuation from the National Guard. Others got out before things got bad.
"I’m going to rough it out. That’s all we kept hearing. We went around begging people to come on out. It’s not worth it," said Kim Bradley.
Residents are staying in shelters and hotels while they wait to see how much of the damage will be covered by insurance.
"If it was like Irma, we were out for 13 months so looking at that we’re going to be out for a minute," said Bradley.
Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said people won’t be returning to their homes for a while.