Towering pile of Irma debris ignites in North Fort Myers

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A fire from a towering pile of Hurricane Irma debris broke out Monday afternoon, terrorizing a North Fort Myers homeowner.

It happened on First Street near Bayshore Road and I-75. The pile was nearly 30 feet high and the homeowner says it’s been there since Irma hit the area. And as the fire blazed, her biggest fear was nearly realized.

Joyce Damron has lived in her NFM home for 30 years and has experienced her fair share of hurricanes.

“There’s a beautiful lake back there that we used to be able to see,” Damron said. But the debris pile now blocks that view.

After the fire ignited, she was terrified she could lose her house.

“I ran, I said we better get some water on the house or on this or something,” Damron said. “I have oxygen sitting in the house here, that’ll go boom really quick…”

She says she has tried everything to get the mountain of debris removed, but keeps running into dead ends. Initially, she was told they would put it all through a wood chipper.

“Zoning told them, and I’m only repeating what I heard, that they cannot chip this close to the houses, so now what are we gonna do?” Damron said.

It’s a problem that’s frustrating this homeowner.

“Are they gonna haul it away? Can you imagine how many trucks it’s gonna take to haul that stuff away? Or is it going to sit there and rot and I have to live with it forever? I haven’t got forever in my life,” Damron said.

And it’s not just fires she’s worried about.

“That’s all gonna be projectiles right into the back of my house, that’s exactly what it’s gonna be,” she said, in the event of another storm.

The property owner says his tenant who is responsible for putting the debris there is working diligently to get it removed.

Lee County officials say they are “aware of the concerns and looking into it and coordinating with other regulatory entities.”

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