• Seminole County family bathing in yard months after Irma denied FEMA assistance

    By: Shannon Butler

    Updated:

    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Hurricane Irma took out a Seminole County firefighter's septic tank, and months later, he and his family of six are still showering, doing dishes and even going to the bathroom in the front yard.

     

    Two-year-old Jojo Hart has to take her bath in a plastic container in the front yard.

     

    In fact, her entire family has had to use a hose to take a shower since Sep. 27.

     

    Hurricane Irma flooded Lake Jessup, which in turn flooded backyards along the lake.

     

    When the water went down, what was left was a cracked septic tank.

     

    An estimate said it will cost $13,000 to fix.

     

    Jennifer Arieli said she went through her home insurance, but flood insurance doesn’t cover septic systems, so she began the process with FEMA.

     

    Earlier this month, she got a letter approving her for $341.70 for personal property, but the claim for the septic tank was denied because FEMA considers the home livable.

     

    The house is livable, but it's the quality of living that is questionable.

     

    The day before her denial letter was written, FEMA put a notice on its website saying that since a working septic tank helps make a home safe and sanitary, the organization might help with septic tanks after a disaster.

     

    The family appealed the denial, and another inspector came to the home Wednesday.

     

    Arieli asked for hotel vouchers from FEMA,too, but hasn't gotten those either.

     

    Channel 9 contacted FEMA for comment, but has not heard back.             

                                   

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