'Nobody lives there:' Homes remain vacant in Fayetteville community six months after Florence

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— Six months after Hurricane Florence, communities are still recovering from flooding that washed away the dreams of many families and business owners.

Hurricane Florence devastated many of the homes in the Cedar Falls community in Fayetteville. Water from Lock’s Creek turned Bombay Drive into a river, flooding cars and homes. Weeks after the storm, debris lined the streets and residents said help was slow to arrive.

“Pretty much all the people around here, they’re stuck because they can’t get out and they can’t get no help. To me, the city has failed the neighborhood,” Michael Harrison said.

Ashley Nisonger said her family is moving out because they want a home outside of the city but, in the back of her mind, the hurricanes are part of the reason for the move. She and her family were in Fayetteville for Hurricane Matthew, so they knew what to expect when Florence started approaching.

Claims from Florence

Select a county below to see losses from Hurricane Florence based on claims for residential property tracked by the N.C. Department of Insurance as of November 2018.

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In Wake County, residents filed 4,234 claims for a total of $21,979,855 in losses. That’s about $5,191 per claim, or $20.89 per person based on the population of the county.

“So, we knew to watch the creek, because the creek will flood, and you will get blocked in here and you’re not going to have power for a week or so,” she said. “It was hot, like our house was 90 degrees. I didn’t want to stay here with it being 90 degrees and no AC.”

For sale signs are up around the neighborhood and many people have already moved out. The brand new apartment complex remains vacant.

“They came through after the first storm, rebuilt them. No sooner than they got back up to par, they flooded again. The man said, ‘You know what, I give up,” Harrison said. “Nobody lives there.”

To add insult to injury, Harrison said one contractor is building a new home with old supplies. Numbers on a pile of wood photographed six months ago match the materials being used for the current construction project. The wood has been out in the weather since Florence hit.

“The city inspector came over here the day before yesterday and approved to let them do it,” Harrison said.

The new home will also sit in an area that used to be a retaining pond that collected water to stop flooding. Residents said that ever since the contractor filled in the pond, flooding has become a problem.