Savannah homeowners survey damage, begin clean-up

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WJBF) – On the Georgia coast, homeowners are cleaning up the mess that Hurricane Matthew left behind and downtown Savannah is one of the hardest hit areas.

Most of the people in Bryan County didn’t get back into the area until Sunday morning. There are a lot of downed trees and there’s definitely a mess to clean up, but most people say the storm could have been much worse.

Bryan County homeowners who live close to the water had no idea what to expect when they got home after Hurricane Matthew.

“I was surprised,” says Kevin Trankle. “There was no water in the house. Relocated a couple of trees and moved some of the furniture in the yard, but other than that…pretty good.”

A tree came crashing down on Kevin Trankle’s boat, just missing his house. He says he’s one of the lucky ones.

“A lot of hard work,” Trankle says. “I’ll probably ignore it for a little while until I feel like dealing with it. It’s nothing urgent. I’ll get to it, but you know, I’m just happy it didn’t do any worse.”

Just a few houses down, another large tree is sitting in the bathroom of this house. A similar sight at this waterfront home. Everyone getting their hands dirty to remove debris.

“It was myself and about 8 other people that cut our way down Ft. McAllister Road early Saturday morning,” Butch Broome tells us. He is the owner of Fort McAllister Marina.

He says he weathered the storm Friday night to protect the boats on his dock, but as the wind picked up after midnight, he had to leave.

“We had boats coming loose Friday afternoon,” Broome says. “We would catch them Friday afternoon. We went through two 55 gallon drums of what I call hurricane rope, inch and half rope, re-securing boats as they would come loose.”

There are plenty of damaged boats at the marina, including one that sank.

“We got a lot of damage, but the dock stayed in place. These boats behind us we had about four or five of them that were stacked up on top of each other.”

Despite the effort and money it will take to rebuild, Broome agrees it could have been worse.

“I mean, we’re going to be good. We’re in good shape. We’ve got good insurance. I hope.”

A lot of people were still without power as of Sunday night, but the biggest concern moving forward is the trees that could continue to fall.

Many homeowners are calling tree removal companies to cut them down before someone gets hurt.

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