BURGAW,NC (WWAY) — Just 2 weeks ago, a Pender County mom finally got the keys to her FEMA trailer but why did it take so long? The Pender County Director of Inspections & Permitting says its not enough just to have the trailer on the property. It must pass electrical, plumbing and mechanical tests.
“I’m a single mom and me and my two boys moved 5 times the first month and during that time contacting FEMA for temporary housing I was denied,” said Julie Zingone, a Burgaw resident.
But, after 3 months of waiting, Zingone and her 2 sons now have a FEMA trailer on their property. She says the wait comes after a series of inspections.
“A lot of people want to complain about the county not having time to do it but, I was very impressed because they came out on Thanksgiving,” said Zingone. “They inspected and got it done so I was thankful but, I had to be my own advocate. I had to call the county, I had to call FEMA everyday and I had to call the company that they contract out to do the work.”
Pender County Director of Inspections and Permitting Scott Henry says its a 4 step process to get your trailer or manufactured home’s keys. He says he has inspected over 800 homes since September.
“With the first onset after the storm people needed to get power on so [the job was about] getting temporary power and service for people to clean up,” said Henry. “Now, we are moving to fixing their homes up…and other inspections…so on an average day I average at least 20 inspections.”
But, Henry says a lot of these homes are failing, which can require additional inspections. He says Pender County officials just wants its residents to be safe.
“I don’t see how you can plan for something like this to happen,” said Henry. “It’s just not what I wanted to happen and it pains me to see so many people suffering.”
After almost a month of inspections, Zingone says it is a blessing to be on the property while she rebuilds her home.
“My little guy, he’s now 8 years old… he said ‘Mom, it’s not about what we have, as long as we are together, its okay,” she said.
Pender County says, across the 850 acre county, they have hundreds of inspections left but, they are doing their best to keep everyone safe.