SOUTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - A condemned South Fort Myers home will likely be torn down. In June, authorities found the remains of Gail Andrews' mother amid piles of garbage and debris. The Lee County Inspector took a final tour of the home on St. Andrews Circle Monday morning.
It was a well being check that led to that gruesome discovery. Looking at the home from the street, you wouldn't suspect anything. The yard is fairly clean and the outside was recently painted. But inside, County Officials say it's unsanitary and unlivable.
For about a month, Gail Andrews cleaned her house, 10 hours a day. "I have put out numerous numerous bags for pick up," Andrews said. "Thirty-eight this morning. I do this every week. I am a single person doing this alone."
Since 2001, Code Enforcement received 10 complaints about her property. Andrews' mother died more than a year ago, and she didn't tell anyone, fearing once people saw inside, they'd take the home. Piled with garbage and infested with rats, neighbors could smell it from the street.
"I've lived here 36 years and there is just so much to do," Andrews said. "It's insurmountable and because of family illness and poverty and job loss, it just didn't happen over the last 10 years."
But with only minimal progress in two rooms, the county will likely demolish the home. "It's an overwhelming situation right now. The time to save that structure may have passed," Lee County Spokesperson Joan LaGuardia said.
Paying for the demolition would too much for Gail, so the county is footing the bill. But, if she sells the lot, she'll pay it back along with her current liens which amount to about $3,000.
"If you look at the actual situation, living in the home is not a viable option," LaGuardia said.
Andrews is staying with neighbors, but knows pretty soon, she could be homeless. "I can't believe I'm living this. I really can't. It's other worldly," Andrews said. "But it happened. It happened because I love my parents and wanted to take care of them and there wasn't enough money or capital to do it."
Lee County will open bids for demolition on the 24th. While the plan is not set in stone, if they decide to move forward, the contractors will have 30 days to get that work done. Andrews' attorney may still be able to present other options. But, if her home is demolished, Andrews says she'll be there watching.