Surving the Eastpoint Fire: nearly one year later

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EASTPOINT, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Many Eastpoint residents are learning how to move on and cope with losses.

Cropped Photo: Ada Be / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 (MGN)

“It’s been rough, you know, like there’s nothing quite like coming home and not knowing if you’re gonna have a house or not," said Eastpoint Fire Survivor Stephanie Johns.

In late June of 2018, a controlled burn turned into a wildfire, consuming hundreds of acres along with 36 homes.

“The fire was just so hot and quick," said Eastpoint Fire Victim Rick Shepard.

“At the time you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, like, you really couldn’t, like there... I don’t know how to explain it to anybody," said Johns.

Since the fire, living situations have been tight for some.

“I just got to the point where I just use my microwave and, you know, I just buy stuff I can microwave. And my heat, here’s my heat right here," said Shepard pointing at a space heater.

“I’m living here in this camper with my two kids and my boyfriend and I’m thankful for it, I really am, but I just feel like, you know, like it’s time for something else," said Johns.

According to Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith, the county is working to provide more permanent homes for some victims.

“The county I think is still, is close to starting to get some funding to those with permanent mobile homes and stuff like that," said Sheriff Smith.

But in terms of state assistance, some victims say they feel forgotten.

“I feel like the state are just him-hawing around, they’re not doing what they could've done or what they should be doing," said Shepard.

Johns says one thing does help: “Prayers... lots of them."

Johns also says she bought a piece of property where she'll be the third recipient of a permanent mobile home from the county.

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