Atlantic Beach business owners, residents await financial aid after Hurricane Florence

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As business owners and residents await financial aid from insurance companies and FEMA, recovery at Atlantic Beach slowly progresses.

It’s been one month and one day since Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast.

Once the storm passed, ABC11 partnered with Fire Chief Adam Snyder of the Atlantic Beach Fire Department for a tour to look at the damage.

Fire Chief Adam Snyder was out of the office on Monday, but ABC11 spoke with Chief Snyder’s Deputy Fire Chief Michael Simpson.

“We’re all pulling together, doing what we can to help each other each and every day,” said Chief Simpson. “That’s what we’ve got to do until we fully recover.”

Chief Simpson said that he and his crew rode out the September storm in the firehouse and that some of his crew lost the majority of their homes and belongings in the storm.

He also said that on their days off, those same firemen who lost so much are out helping their neighbors rebuild. “There’s not a whole lot of concern with their own. They know in the end we’ll all come together and get those guys taken care of.”

Meanwhile, the streets of Atlantic Beach bare evidence of Florence’s impact; items that should be on the inside of homes are outside awaiting trash pick up.

Tropical Storm Michael did not help the recovery efforts either.

On Monday, fishermen and women cast their lines along the popular Oceanana Pier.

The pier was particularly destroyed during Hurricane Florence; bits and pieces were tossed down the coast.

Some businesses have also remained closed for repairs, while others are open.

“We’re not totally back to normal, but we’re close,” said Atlantic Beach Mayor Trace Cooper.

Mayor Cooper said a cost analysis has not been completed, but its believed Florence caused damages into the millions just at Atlantic Beach.

If help continues to be on the way, it will be in the form of tourism.

“Countywide, there are thousands of people who work in hospitality related businesses that were out of work for a few weeks in September,” Mayor Cooper said. ” that’s one of our busiest months, so if you want to help, come back.”

The storm may have torn down buildings, but it could not deter the resilience of Atlantic Beach.

“The world isn’t always as bad as it seems. Everybody seems to come together when they need it,” Deputy Fire Chief Simpson said.

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