Boats, houses rest on top of houses in Big Pine Key after Irma

Nick Harding: 'The Keys that I knew and loved ... they're gone'

BIG PINE KEY, Fla. – Nick Harding's house in the Florida Keys is still standing after Hurricane Irma.

"Looks are deceiving," Harding told Local 10 News.

Indeed. A closer look shows how high the water seeped into his house. 

"We had 18 inches of water inside the house," he said.

Trees that once lined his yard are now scattered everywhere. His fence is gone and his boats have been moved from their original spots.

"We had our big boat, which was behind the sea center, all 17 tons of her come out of the water," Harding said. "It's laying there. It's totaled." 

Harding, like many in the Keys, left during the mandatory evacuation. He and his wife got back two days ago, and now they're trying to figure out how to clean up all that Irma left behind.

"The Keys that I knew and loved a couple of weeks ago, they're gone," Harding said.

A 32-foot boat that was on a boat lift somehow landed on top of a home. It wasn't just boats. Elsewhere, a house was resting on top of another house.

Nick Harding's big boat was picked up by Hurricane Irma and moved from its original spot.
Nick Harding's big boat was picked up by Hurricane Irma and moved from its original spot.

"I own all this and I don't have insurance or nothing," Art Koltunak said. 

A huge tree fell on top of Koltunak's mobile home. He knows he's lucky to be alive. 

For many like Koltunak and Harding, it's a waiting game.

Harding said he's been trying to contact the Federal Emergency Management Administration and insurance investigators, but the lines are always busy. Patience is now needed as so many try to get their lives back on track.

"I'm sure the Keys will come back, but it's going to break the back and hearts of many," Harding said.

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