East Orange County family remains without power, water following Hurricane Ian

‘I ended up with a hot tub in a tree’

Floodwaters from Hurricane Ian have washed away part of Hamilton Drive in east Orange County. Jamin VanLandingham lives on the street and showed the damage to News 6 on Saturday. The water was up to his midsection at its deepest point.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Floodwaters from Hurricane Ian have washed away part of Hamilton Drive in east Orange County.

Jamin VanLandingham lives on the street and showed the damage to News 6 on Saturday. The water was up to his midsection at its deepest point.

“A car can easily fit in here,” said VanLandingham.

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The residential road near East Colonial Drive and Old Cheney Highway is now almost impossible to access for the few homeowners that live there.

“I’m definitely concerned if anyone comes down this thing at night when you can’t see very well. It is very dark,” said VanLandingham.

During the storm, Vanlandingham evacuated in the dark with his dog when water started rushing into his home.

“The current was so strong that I literally had to grab my dog’s collar to pull him, because he literally couldn’t keep up,” said VanLandingham.

He tells News 6 the first floor of his home flooded. The water line was above all the windows at one point.

Days later, what was under water is now drying out. VanLandingham says he does have insurance, but worries it won’t be enough. He says FEMA only offered him $300.

“I am probably to the tune of six figures just trying to get my house back to functioning like it did a week ago and rebuilding a road on top of it. It’s on a level I can’t even explain,” said VanLandingham.

A neighbor put rocks down close to where Hamilton Drive is washed away. It gives the few houses on the street some access. VanLandingham asked Orange County what they can do to help fix the street, but he’s told the road is privately maintained.

“I ended up with a hot tub in a tree. We’re going to have to have a crane probably brought in at some point. I don’t know how they’re going to come down,” said VanLandingham.

For now, he remains without power, without water, and without a way to make repairs. He tells News 6 he fears he will be without help as well.

“It just becomes more difficult to rebuild and put yourself back on track when I’m facing the financial challenges in regard to rebuilding here. I don’t know how I’m supposed to rebuild a road, too.”

Vanlandingham says his community helps when possible. On Saturday, a local church came to help haul away all of the damaged items inside his home. He says nearly everything is gone.


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About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.