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State Sends Insurance Help for Eastpoint Fire Victims, Dozens Still Homeless

EASTPOINT, Fla. - Another day of uncertainty for the victims of the Franklin County wildfire. Days after fire took 36 homes from their owners, many victims are still homeless.

Many of them are still living in a shelter while not knowing how they will able to recover from the loss of their homes.

As we've neared the end of the week, more problems are coming to light.

"I'm staying in my car," Glenn Woodall, a fire victim said.

On Thursday and Friday, Florida's Chief Financial Officer's team helped victims fill out paperwork to receive up to $5,000 per home. The money is for expenses like temporary housing, clothing, food, and pet care.

"I guess the state's gonna step in so it's looking up. So that's a good thing," Cheryl Ortega, a fire victim, said.

"They said they were going to help and get some things going but they couldn't give me a time," Woodall said.

"At least we have some insurance where a lot of these people don't," Ortega said.

Many people were upset that Governor Rick Scott did not declare a state of emergency. 

"If this isn't a disaster, you tell me what is," Kathy Hill, another fire victim, said.

"It's kind of premature for that. A lot of times, the executive order, declaring a state of emergency, means additional law enforcement, additional resources can come in here. We don't need that, all of that's under control. What we need now is money to replace homes," Sheriff A.J. Smith said.

Governor Scott's office issued a statement with other resources for the victims.

"I totally believe that it's because it's poor people in mobile homes mostly that they don't care," Hill said.

Sheriff Smith says that talk isn't true.

"It has nothing to do with who's poor and who's rich," he said.

Many people are still staying at the Eastpoint Church of God, with friends and family, and anywhere they can lay their heads for the night. 

"Mine burnt down. I have nothing left," Woodall said.

"I'm a real firm believer that everything happens for a reason so we're just gonna take one day at a time," Ortega said.

Many of these people are eager to get their lives moving again. 

Sheriff Smith said they're moving as quickly as they can but couldn't give News 13 an exact date as to when they'll clean up the areas. 

The chief financial officer's team will be at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to help people with their insurance claims. 


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