Collier County Residents Assess Damage After Irma

Sep 11, 2017

The eye of Hurricane Irma made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane Sunday afternoon in Marco Island. The heart of the damage is found in Collier County.

Riverwood Estates is an over-55 retirement community in South Naples. It is made up of small, manufactured homes that are usually barely above sea level.

But, after Hurricane Irma, many of them are now under it. Richard Reed was one of the lucky ones.

"You can't explain it," Reed said. "It's like thinking you're going to lose everything that we have. I mean, we've worked our whole lives for this, and we were afraid it was just going to be gone."

What is gone is Reed's front porch. The remains of the beams and screen that once made it up were at his feet, as he stood in the doorway, assessing the damage of his neighbors' homes around him.

"Going out to go see the damage — it's a sickening feeling, until you know," Reed said.

Reed and his wife stayed with a friend a little north in Lely. There was a risk of storm surge in that area as well, but nothing near what was expected for their home in Riverwood.

Reed said he expected to come home to an empty lot.

"Just seeing the structural part, I mean, sure, it was disheartening seeing this damage, but to see it there — the main part of the house," Reed said. "It felt so much better, knowing your home's there, you know?"

Collier County Emergency Management has been dispatching personnel to South Naples and surrounding areas for damage control and cleanup since the county curfew was called at 6 a.m. Monday.

Officials said it will take days, perhaps weeks, to get things back to how they were before Irma came through.