Fort Myers Beach mayor reacts to FEMA’s trailer mistake

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Dan Allers says he’s shocked someone wasn’t able to move into the FEMA trailer after it arrived on the island back in December. The agency mistakenly put it on the property in a floodway.

Allers said he visited the trailer Tuesday morning to show people how great it is that FEMA had delivered its first trailer. Then he learned about the trailer being removed after FEMA admitted to placing it there by mistake, and everything changed.

Fort Myers Beach FEMA Trailer. (Credit: WINK News)

“I turned the TV on, and I got a call about the same time that I saw your story. So I was a little shocked, to say the least,” said Allers.

MORE: Fort Myers Beach’s first FEMA trailer remains empty weeks after delivery

Allers has had quite the week. On January 3, he showed the trailer off to the people of Fort Myers Beach. “Good morning, everyone! Mayor Dan Allers here, of Fort Myers Beach. What you see behind me is the first FEMA trailer on the island and in place.”

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Dan Allers Facebook live. (Credit: Fort Myers Beach)

Allers was excited to share the news and to see some progress.

“I thought this would be something that people would like to see,” said Allers in the Facebook video.

What he didn’t know Tuesday was that FEMA parked the trailer here in mid-December, but the man it was meant for could not move in.

“I thought it was going to be a positive thing to put out there. That they’re coming, and it was positive for a little bit until I saw your story later in the evening,” Allers said. “Quite honestly, it was oh, no. Oh, no, I wish I would have known earlier and had known all the details a little bit earlier.”

It didn’t stop there. On Wednesday, Allers found out again from WINK News, not FEMA, that the federal agency parked the trailer there by mistake.

MORE: FEMA admits Fort Myers Beach trailer locked for weeks was delivered to wrong place

FEMA said it was in a floodway, and legally, they can’t park a trailer in a floodway.

“My first reaction was, how does that mistake happen? Right? And I’m sure FEMA is probably asking themselves the same question. How does that happen?” said Allers.

WINK News asked FEMA that question.  “I do not have a direct answer as to why it took that long to be recognized,” said Troy York, a FEMA media spokesperson.

FEMA said the trailer that is not where it belongs would be removed early next week, and it will be replaced with a travel trailer, which is allowed in a floodway.

Brandon Lamoncha understands the pain of having FEMA take away his hopes of a trailer.

“That poor guy, they actually put a trailer on his property, telling them he’s going to live in it. And now they’re taking it away. I mean, you know, like, come on,” said Lamoncha.

Hurricane Ian’s storm surge sent eight feet of water into Lamoncha’s Fort Myers home. He applied for FEMA assistance and even got his yard marked up for a trailer. He was told that a trailer could not legally go on his property either.

“It’s kind of a false hope, you know, when, when all you want is a place to live and to be on your property,” Lamoncha said.

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