OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – A fleet of Miami-Dade County pump trucks has been coming in and out all day long.
The good news is the water is gone. But, for many residents, the problems are just beginning
When you open the door of Tamara Medrano’s apartment in Opa-locka you can smell it.
“The mold, yeah, and everything from the bathroom came up as well,” she said, noting that the water was 2 feet deep inside.
Medrano’s apartment is one of 37 first-floor apartments flooded out within the Glorieta Gardens complex.
The fleet of pump trucks descended on the community Wednesday.
“They tried several different methods with a pump and that didn’t work well,” said Frank Rollason, director of emergency management for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. “So they had to come with the vactor trucks.”
And floating in the stagnant water for days is garbage — lots of it.
Hallways are full of wet clothes and other belongings.
“They just cleared it out this morning,” apartment resident Sheila Hulton said. “My refrigerator is not working. They turned off some of the electricity. I had to get my neighbor to fix me something to eat this morning.”
Residents say it’s not the first or second time this has happened, but it’s the worst.
Making matters worse, there is a junkyard next door.
“Now our next step is making sure that this property owner needs to do what they need to do fix this drainage. And the junkyards to make sure this doesn’t encroach on this property,” said Matthew Pigatt, Opa-locka’s mayor.
“No one should live under these conditions no matter what.”
The situation also caught the attention of a state representative in this area.
“It is not acceptable... And we are going to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said James Bush III, D-District 109. “These are human beings and because people are on public assistance it does not mean they don’t have worth.”
Some of the apartment complex’s residents are staying with family and friends. Others are being put up in motels by management.