Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

In Riverview, getting by without power or water after Irma

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RIVERVIEW — Mariola Chrzanowski, 55, wore a sun hat as she raked twigs and leaves from her yard in the Pleasant Living mobile home park Wednesday afternoon.

Like her, none of her neighbors have working power or water. She wants to buy some water to wash off before going into work Thursday. Chrzanowki is a makeup artist at Macy's, and her clients will notice if she hasn't showered.

"I'm probably going to stink," she laughed.

But she feels guilty about using water for that, when there might be a better use for it in her community.

"We don't know how much water we're going to need," she said. She worries it'll be a week before the utilities work again.

COMPLETE COVERAGE:Find all our coverage about Hurricane Irma here

She and her husband Tony evacuated to a hotel in South Carolina during the storm, paying about $300 for rooms and a pet fee for Lucy, their chihuahua.

It's all put things into perspective, she said. Her family is lucky.

"I know a lot of people don't have this kind of money."

Tuesday night, her son brought her a backup generator. But she found out her next-door neighbor needs filtered oxygen, so she let her use it. Chrzanowski charges her phone in her car. She ate a salad at McDonald's on Tuesday night, but hasn't had any food since.

"I don't care if I have no water. I don't care if I (don't) have food. I survived," she said. "And this, we're going to go through this."

Chrzanowski has lived in Florida for more than a decade, after growing up in Poland, but had never seen a hurricane like Irma. She's also never seen such caring, she said.

Donations of water and food were pouring in, organized by Irma Decentralized Response, a group who found out about Pleasant Living's condition through a Facebook post.

Gonzalo Valdes, who was helping with the efforts, said there's still a need for water, ice, batteries and sanitary wipes, and the group is accepting donations at 5107 N. Central Ave. in Tampa.

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