Some Cocoa customers without water days after Hurricane Irma

Florida National Guard distributes thousands of cases of water to residents

By James Sparvero - Reporter

COCOA, Fla. - While a lot of areas are dealing with floodwaters, there are thousands of people in need of drinking water.

The Florida National Guard on Wednesday gave out thousands of free cases of water at four Brevard County locations including a shopping plaza at U.S. 1 and Dixon Boulevard in Cocoa.

"A massive response," Sgt. Brown said of the turnout. "If you guys need water, you guys need to get out here." 

In Cocoa, Mayor Henry Parrish also spent time this week without power and water.

"Thousands of cars have been through here. Thousands, some people twice," Parrish said.

Becuase of Hurricane Irma, the city got 56 calls of water breaks. That's more than twice they received after Hurricane Matthew last year.

Of the breaks -- one by the Indian River at North Indian River Drive and Sunset Terrace -- about 20 of them are now fixed.

Parish insists there are not systemic problems with the city's infrastructure.

"No, we take care of our infrastructure," the mayor answered, saying the city did all it could to prepare for the storm. "I think we're on top of it." 

Parrish said the city spent well over $100 million this decade replacing pipes. Neighbors speaking to News 6 Wednesday did not criticize leaders, but simply encouraged each other to stay positive.

"We can handle it," said Homer North, picking up a case of water from the National Guard.

"Can't help but to stay positive in a situation like this because if you get frustrated, it only combines with the problem and makes it worse," said Orlando Jackson, also picking up water.

"I'm grateful that everybody pitched together and came through for us," he continued.

Leaders said it will take at least another day or two for most Cocoa water customers to have their service restored.

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