A Sampson County family who had recently lost their home due to flooding from Hurricane Matthew is once again facing the devastation that Mother Nature’s furious winds left behind.
“The morning after the storm, we had planned on going to get the title for the home because we were getting ready to move it to a plot of land we just bought,” recalled Belen Espino, whose second home just off U.S. 701 near Clinton caught the brunt of last week’s storm.
Only eight months after Hurricane Matthew ripped through North Carolina causing major flooding, loss of power for 1 million homes and the shut down of major interstates, Sampson County was hit yet again with another natural disaster. This time the county was hit with tornado-like winds said to be up to 110 miles per hour.
Espino’s home was one of those ravaged by the winds.
In an interview this week, she detailed the horror of becoming victim to yet another storm.
“The landlord had called us and told us there had been some damage but we weren’t too worried about it,” she said.
After the phone call, Espino and her family continued with their day. They accompanied a family member to a dealership to pick up a truck that was being repaired and afterward decided to go see just how much the home had been impacted.
“I personally didn’t know how bad the storm had been. Where we live now it was only a heavy thunderstorm the night before,” said Espino.
As they drove down the highway, they began to see utility crews fixing light poles, people picking up trees from the side of the road and some even hoisting trees from a few homes. She said they were in disbelief at the destruction left behind by the storm.
As the family approached the location of their home, they were stunned at the sight of their once-intact mobile home now in pieces.
“The metal frame that is the main structure of the trailer, was across the street. I was shocked. I wanted to be sad, but I couldn’t even believe it was real,” said Espino, choking back sobs.
Where the mobile home once stood, there was nothing left but insulation scattered almost 200 yards, some plywood and a bathroom sink.
Because the home was destroyed by natural causes and the home had already been sold to the Rivera family, there was nothing the previous owner could do for them.
The family continues to express how lucky they were not to have been living in the home at the time of the storm.
“The only thing left for us to do right now is to pick ourselves up, start over again, even though the reality is that we don’t have a place to live,” expressed Belen with an elongated sigh. “We’re renting right now, but it doesn’t compare to owning your home and having all your things in one place.”
The family has a set up a GoFundMe page on Facebook in hopes of raising enough money, to buy another home to donate visit http://tinyurl.com/y7woznqt.