Clearwater mobile home residents face eviction day

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – The last residents of a Clearwater mobile home park gathered their belongings and moved out Thursday, scared for their futures on a Halloween day many of them will never forget.

Grace Fulford has lived in the Southern Comfort Mobile Home Park off U.S. 19 for nearly 14 years.

She said she won’t miss the water quality issues and the tight quarters, but she will miss the memories in the place she called home.

“It’s been emotional for me because my husband died a year and a half ago and my son died six months ago,” Fulford said. “I got that [eviction] letter two days after he died. So I’ve done a lot of crying.”

Fulford said she had to use bottled water to brush her teeth and take the occasional shower because the water was so dirty at times.

“Sometimes, the water would smell so bad like sewage,” Fulford said. “I could keep the lid down, the bathroom door shut, and it smells through the whole house.”

Several families filed a lawsuit against Southern Comfort and its owner over the water issues. An attorney for the owner previously told 8 On Your Side the water was “acceptable,” filing a motion to dismiss the families’ lawsuit.

That motion was denied on Wednesday, according to the families’ attorney. The case will now move into the discovery phase, where both sides will collect documentation about the water issues and depose witnesses as they prepare for a possible trial.

Fulford was hoping to stay in Pinellas County so her grandson, a junior in high school who lives with her, could finish out school. Instead, she will move to a bigger, more affordable place in Pasco County.

“I’m glad to get out of here,” Fulford said, “but it wasn’t my timing. I’m not ready to go buy a property today, so I was thinking in two years when he graduates I’ll leave here. But that didn’t happen, so what are you gonna do?”

Fulford said while she won’t miss the house, she’ll miss her home.

“Probably just family memories,” said Fulford. “But when you go to a new place you just make new memories. I’m taking a positive approach on it. I’m just grateful I found a place. I was praying for a miracle because I needed one and I got one.​”

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