PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Mancinis’ easy access to the Gulf of Mexico was once a selling point for their property along a canal in the Sea Ranch area of Hudson.
“My husband loves to fish,” said Maureen Mancini.
Now, the ocean water is the cause of so much pain.
“Our equity is here. This is where our money is and now we don’t have it,” she said.
Mancini made a last minute decision to evacuate during Hurricane Idalia. Her husband was out of town.
She came back Wednesday night to find her house flooded.
“You replace the floors, a little bit of drywall, you’re golden,” she said.
Power was still out, so she spent the night elsewhere.
On Thursday morning, her security company called her because a smoke alarm was going off at the house.
“There was a power surge when the power came back on and it caused a fire and now what was a little water damage is a disaster. It’s a nightmare,” she said.
The Mancinis family room was destroyed. The rest of the house has damage from smoke and soot.
A fire inspector told her the fire started in the corner of the family room, where she had a reclining chair and stereo plugged in.
She unplugged almost everything else in the house, but the corner was blocked by patio furniture Mancini moved inside.
She did not turn off her power.
Like other fire victims from Hurricane Idalia, she was unaware it is recommended people turn off their power when evacuating or experiencing flood water in the home.
Mancini is now figuring out the next steps with her insurance company, which contacted her Thursday afternoon.
“We don’t have any place to go so we’re going to have to look for an apartment or something and continue paying this mortgage and continue trying to fix this,” she said.
Mancini actually went through this 30 years ago when an earthquake destroyed her home in California.
And now, she has to start all over again.
“It’s just hard and then to not know what’s next and where are you gonna go?” she asked.
More information on how to prevent fires during and after hurricanes is available on FEMA’s website.