A week after tornado cleanup continues in south Fort Myers neighborhoods

Published: December 28, 2021 4:10 PM EST
Updated: December 28, 2021 6:46 PM EST

It’s been one week since an EF1 tornado ripped through parts of south Fort Myers, doing damage in the Briarcliff and Eagle Ridge communities.

The cleanup is slow but steady.

Rob Outkerk struggled a week ago to free his home from the clutches of a tree.

Now, the tree is off his home and all of the trees are gone from his lawn.

“Every time we had either a tornado or we had a hurricane these branches came flying,” Outkerk said.

There is still a lot left to do.

Outkerk needs to pay for a new lanai.

“The pool cage is totally shot,” he said.

And he still needs to fix his roof and find out where some of the strewn-about items go.

“I don’t know where the hell it came from,” he said. “Landed in my yard.”

  Outkerk’s neighbors have work to do, too. 

Roofers, screen repairmen, and pool guys have lined Twin Eagle Lane for the last seven days.

Blue tarps cover so many homes and so many folks, like the Outkerks, still haven’t heard from their insurance.

“It’s frustrating the whole week, because you have so much to do and so much work,” Outkerk said.

On Twin Eagle Lanes, Marvin Swosinski has very little left of his lanai and a lot of work on his plate.

“It’s been constant,” Swosinski said. “Just a lot of cleaning up, you know, branches, twigs, you name it.”

The cleanup is annoying. The cost of repair? For some, probably high.

But in the Eagle Ridge community, people and pets are finding a bright side.

Nancy Crook’s dog Toby loves the piles of branches.

“He’s very much in love with trees and leaves and whatever else he finds on the ground,” Crook said.

She still needs a new lanai screen and shingles.

“You know what that’s like these days, getting tiles,” Crook said.

But these days, these neighbors know things could be worse when they think about the damage done in Kentucky.

“People are helping each other, which is the best part of neighborhoods when there’s damage,” Crook said. 

Trash and debris removal tips for Lee County residents

Lee County Solid Waste is asking residents who were impacted by the tornado to take note of the following tips in order to efficiently remove debris:

Note: Damaged pool cages would fall under the same disposal method of “Fencing (Wood)” as shown above.

Residents with questions on waste collections can contact Solid Waste Customer Service at (239) 533-8000 or visit the website at leegov.com/solidwaste.

NOTICE: Holiday Hours/Closures

Residential collection: There will be NO CHANGE to residential collection schedules for Christmas or New Year’s since both holidays fall on a Saturday this year. Please place your garbage, yard waste and recycling curbside on your regular collection day.