Ormond Beach residents fear Dorian's flooding potential

'I'm panicking. I'm really panicking,' says Bruce Chiarizzi

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. - Residents of a Volusia County neighborhood hit by high floodwaters after Hurricane Irma are bracing themselves as Hurricane Dorian takes aim at Central Florida.

"I’m panicking. I’m really panicking," said Bruce Chiarizzi.

Chiarizzi's home was flooded by more than 14 inches of water in 2017 -- overflow from the Tomoka River.

"Irma had no regard for all that," he said. "It just came up, came in and we had no chance."

After the waters receded, Volusia County Emergency Management officials stepped in with plans to ask the federal government for money to elevate the homes on Chiarizzi's street on stilts.

Larry Lahue, with Volusia County Emergency Management, said state disaster aid screeners kicked the applications for help back.

Lahue said the state wanted proof that the Tomoka River rises with the tides and poses a threat for future flooding.

He said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn't monitor the Tomoka River with any gauges so Volusia County will have to use grant money to buy their own.

Lahue said his office is committed to getting results for the Chiarizzis and other families impacted by the Tomoka River flooding.

"I trust and believe that they will do it, I just don’t know when," Chiarizzi said. "I don’t know how long we can hold out here."
 

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