After Irma, Florida residents begin to think about rebuilding


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WNCN) — With large trees down and thousands without power in Pinellas County, a lot of people need help rebuilding.

Local political leaders re-opened an office Thursday for people to begin the application process to receive assistance from FEMA after hundreds came to the site on Wednesday.

Gloria Francine Maxwell’s home has never flooded before. She didn’t expect the wind either, but that brought down part of her fence.

By the time she realized she should leave St. Petersburg, it was too late.

“But, you still don’t expect it. And, the wind was deafening. I ended up in the bathroom in the middle of the house in the tub,” said Maxwell.

With the power out all week, many people haven’t been able to get online to start the application process with FEMA.

Attending Thursday’s event also gave them a chance to get out of the heat and get a free hot meal.

For many their most pressing need is something FEMA can’t provide: electricity. As of Thursday at 9 p.m., more than 2 million customers were still without power.

Maxwell just got hers back on right before she came to Thursday’s registration event.

“Hallelujah! You want to thank all your angels and Jehovah and Jesus, the Holy Spirit, everybody,” said Maxwell.

The City of St. Petersburg will open disaster relief centers on Friday. The locations and hours can be viewed here.

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