Residents survey damage caused by Eastpoint fire

Published: Jun. 26, 2018 at 4:53 AM EDT
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By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 26, 2018

EASTPOINT, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tuesday was a tough day for fire victims, who say reality of what's happened and what they've lost has finally kicked in.

"That's my place. That's the Banks' place over there." Jodi Tatum says as he reviews what's left of his mobile home.

"My other shed right behind it burned," he added.

Tatum's rubble is sandwiched between the rubble of what used to be two of his close neighbors on Ridge Road.

Now, all three homes have been completely destroyed by a massive fire.

Tatum said, "Wasn't nothing there. It's like you take something and slap the trailer out from under it and just let the roof down."

Down the street, one woman was afraid to see what her place looks like. She and her kids and nephew were working in the yard when the fire got close.

"All I could say was 'run,'" the woman said.

Her mobile home was untouched by the fire, but not the property behind hers. Just about everything in the path was burned, including boats and a semi truck.

"How did that happen? How did it not get us?" she asked.

Her 12-year-old nephew, Roscoe Rotell, warned the family when he saw the fire coming.

"It started falling on us. There were hot ashes everywhere. Everyone from my Aunt Amanda's yard started running through the trail. Then we had to leave" Roscoe said.

As he's looking at the spot where he home used to stand, Tatum said, "God will make a way. I'll work on getting another one. Can't give up. Give up, you don't have nothing. Right now I ain't got nothing now."

Tatum, like many others, did not have insurance. Residents say they can now only look to the future.

By: Alicia Turner | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 26, 2018

EASTPOINT, Fla. (WCTV) -- Sheriff AJ Smith calls what happened Sunday in Eastpoint, “catastrophic.” Now, Franklin County residents are finding out why.

Monday afternoon, smoke was still rising from the ground now covered in ash and debris. Among the rubble was charred homes, cars and livelihoods.

"Well I have nothing. I don't have nothing, this is it. This is what I worked for all my life." Glenn Woodall explained.

Woodall is one of dozens displaced following the fire. He told Eyewitness News he was home when the fire started. What he didn’t know was that the next few minutes he spent watching the flames get closer, would be the last few minutes he’d spend inside of that home.

"I had probably five minutes, because when it was roaring, it was roaring."

Monday, Glenn was still able to tell in detail what he saw and how he felt. But for his roommate, rushing to the scene from work proved to be too much; he died of a heart attack just as he turned the corner onto his road.

"He lost his life trying to get here to make sure everyone was OK," Glenn said.

"I saw children in the backs of trucks crying because it was scary for the parents. It was total chaos, it was surreal,” said Tammy Boone.

Tammy is also a resident of Franklin County. She explained the images of people grabbing what they could and running to safety will stay with her forever.

"it was just get in your car and run," said Tammy.

For some, it meant leaving behind all they’ve ever known.

"My father-in-law has lived here for 40 years. He doesn't have insurance and now he doesn't have a home. He has nothing."