Charlie Chappell is a retiree who lost his home to the destructive force of hurricane Irma. Flood waters ripped out the bottom floor of his house on Big Pine Key and the winds took the top floor walls and ceiling. His roof was found two houses over in a neighbors yard and his boat was ripped of its mooring, overturned one hundred yards away in the canal behind him. Charlie will continue to search the rubble for mementos and anything salvageable until the state tears down what is left of the structure.
"Its not a matter of if it will happen, its a matter of when" says Charlie Chappell regarding hurricanes and their destructive capabilities.
Camp manager Taylor Hunt and Program Director Cliff Freiwald of the South Florida Boy Scout Council stand in the remains of the camp meeting hall. The only intact piece of the building is the roughly one hundred thousand pound concrete slab that was the foundation. The flood waters picked up the slab and with high winds twisting the walls the entire structure crumbled.
Over a month after Hurricane Irma made landfall multiple electric companies work around the clock to bring power back to the middle keys. Many lines were damaged during the hurricane and need to be repaired or replaced.
Charlie Chappell walks through the destroyed upper level of what was his home on Big Pine Key searching for mementos and anything that can be salvageable.
Charlie's home was not the only one to be destroyed during Hurricane Irma's pass through Big Pine Key. A house just up the road is missing half of its structure from the crashing waves and the two homes adjacent to Charlie's have extensive damage from when the winds picked up his roof and smashed it into them.
Trash and debris cover the Florida Keys, ranging in size from this tiny children's shoe all the way up to cars and large boats.
Charlie Chappell examines postcards he recovered from the remains of his home on Big Pine Key. The postcards are from his mother's trip to see the empire state building in 1912.
Hurricane Irma heavily damaged man-made structures across the Florida Keys, most of which are still in the process of being cleaned up and repaired. Meanwhile the well adapted native plant and animal species have already started to bounce back.
A boat sits capsized near route 1 across the road from the boy-scout reservation on Scout Key. The boat has been featured by numerous media outlets as the vessel was wrecked on an easily accessible piece of shoreline with a little parking lot just in front of the ruined watercraft.