FORT MYERS, Fla. - A massive clean-up effort is causing Lee County to put the brakes on plans to bulldoze a woman's house. Back in June, investigators removed Gail Andrew's mother, who died over a year before, from inside, and condemned the decaying structure. But an out pour of community support is causing the county to give Gail a second chance.
On Tuesday, Andrew's front yard looked more like a construction site, as complete strangers help clean out three decades worth of trash. In short span of time, all the work is showing a true turnaround.
Just days ago, WINK News took you exclusively inside a house covered in cobwebs and littered with piles of trash.
"The first day I walked in, it was floor to ceiling and beyond in every room," volunteer Kay Haering said.
But less than a week later, walk through the same door, and you'll see a comeback in the making.
"It's a miracle. It's just a miracle," Gail Andrews said Tuesday.
Over a dozen volunteers are helping keep Andrews from becoming homeless.They've shoveled out a dumpsters worth of trash, stumbling across some buried treasure along the way.
"This is my mother's wedding picture. She was married on Valentine's Day, 1942," Andrews said.
Old photographs and keepsakes, once buried in sludge, are now clean, and carefully placed in a storage unit.
"These are the experiences that really lift me up and keep me going," Andrews said.
Lee County is postponing plans to bulldoze the property, but they are holding on to the bids of two demolition contractors if the repairs on Andrew's home don't pan out. But volunteers say they're standing behind Gail every step of the way.
"It's not even just saving a home, it's saving a life that was to be discarded with the trash," Haering said Tuesday.
Lee County tells WINK News they are monitoring the progress of the property on a daily basis. Tuesday afternoon, a builder along with an architect surveyed the property for free. They hope to donate their services to repair the home within a week.