Red tide crisis: Pinellas families living near fish kills can’t escape rancid smell

Red Tide

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Many families living in the Shore Acres area of St. Petersburg are having a difficult time with red tide. Whether they live on or off the water, residents say there is no escape from the rotting odor connected to the bloom.

The impact is wide-reaching. Not only to the people who live in homes on the water, but to families at parks where children play as well. And the smell continues seeping into nearby neighborhoods.

Chris Tidwell and his son, 7-year-old Chris Jr., went to Crisp Park on Thursday to escape their house on the water. They were trying to enjoy their day but were having a tough time.

“Yeah, it does stink a lot,” Chris Jr. said.

Tidwell said he’s no millionaire, he’s a single dad who just bought when the market was done. Usually, he said, they feel lucky to live on the water. But right now, it’s tough.

They can’t escape the horrid smell of rotting fish wherever they go.

“We got about five more minutes [at this park] before we got to go,” Tidwell said. “It just stinks. It smells better at the house.”

Another family we spoke with said they won’t even brave the park with their children and won’t let them play outside their home because the smell is so rancid.

The mid-week red tide update issued Wednesday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showed red tide at background to high concentrations in 36 water samples taken in and offshore of Pinellas County. You can check the latest red tide samples and map on our red tide page.

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