Algae outbreak forces North Fort Myers family out of their home

Published: Updated:
Algae in North Fort Myers.

Thick blue-green algae is getting worse by the day and a family who lives on a canal says they’ve been forced out of their own home.

Joanne Kreise says she and her family have no other choice but to pack a bag and leave., “We’re basically held captive inside our home.”

As thick blue-green algae creeps farther down their North Fort Myers canal the smell is undeniable.

“We wait all winter long to be able to use our pool to go boating,  and we can’t we’re trapped in our house,” Kreise said.

On Thursday, Kreise and her family loaded up their car, headed for a rental home on Fort Myers Beach. Anything to get away from the stagnant, toxic algae invading their backyard.

It was so bad she had to go to seek help, “We went to the doctors and they did tests and she said it’s not strep but, it’s an actual allergic reaction …”

Vanessa Heath, physicians assistant with MedExpress explained potential symptoms of being near the algae, “They can have some shortness of breath some wheezing some difficulty breathing”

Medical experts say ingesting and breathing in the algae’s stench can make you sick.

“We do recommend to just really try to avoid excess exposure to it just for the sake of not developing any respiratory issues,” Heath said.

Parts of Southwest Florida are under a state of emergency after a visit from Governor Rick scott earlier this week but Freise says that visit wasn’t enough, “Have him bring his children here. All of these politicians that want to turn up and give us empty promises and answers.”

Her frustrations are growing even faster than the algae, “We need something today … I feel like they’re just abandoning us”

She says her husband’s been on the phone all day and they can’t seem to get answers for this problem.

Government officials are working to move ahead with a big water storage program.

Follow our continuing team coverage of the algae crisis with Reporter Oliver Redsten’s report from Moore Haven.

FROM MOORE HAVEN: SWFL residents wary of EAA reservoir project, scheduled water releases

Business Damage Assessment survey

Governor Rick Scott announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has activated the Business Damage Assessment survey to gather information on how algal blooms caused by federal Lake Okeechobee water releases have impacted local business operations.

The survey can be taken at by selecting the “Lake Okeechobee Discharge/Algae Blooms” event. For additional assistance, call 850-815-4925.

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