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38 homes in Jacksonville destroyed by hurricane, report says

City says water levels in home ranged from 1 inch to 6 feet

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville's preliminary report on property damage caused by Hurricane Matthew provided to state and federal emergency managers on property damage caused by Hurricane Matthew lists 38 homes were destroyed and 494 homes damaged.

John Tipton's home of 24 years on the Intracoastal Waterway was listed by the city as being destroyed. 

Tipton told News4Jax Wednesday that he's thankful for the help he's received, but he knows there's still a long road to recovery. 

"Every time, we always take pictures and all the artwork from elementary school and, of course, the dog and the cat. And we always think, 'We'll just put it back in and it'll be great,'" Tipton said. "Well, this time was different."

He and his family weathered the storm elsewhere, knowing that their home would be impacted due to it only be 5-feet above sea level. 

"You couldn't see any weeds or anything. It was all white caps breaking up against the house and filling up the garage," Tipton said while showing News4Jax a video shot before the storm was at it worst in Jacksonville Beach.

After the storm, baseboards and molding had to be removed throughout the Tipton's home after water seeped inside. Tipton is just one of several Duval County homeowners who will be receiving help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"When you get your insurance policy, it's think, and you sign here, throw it in the drawer," he said. "When it happens, you think at least they'll cover this and you start reading and you're like wow -- it doesn't cover much."

Tipton said FEMA will help cover the cost of damage inside the home, but will not cover the cost to repair things like docks and pools. He said he and his family will be working for at least another month before things start looking familiar again at their house. 

"Our kids were all born and raised in this house so it gets a little sad, you know," Tipton said. "But the kids are cool. They're doing great."

News4Jax also visited a house on the Southside that the city says as destroyed. Mike Eddins, who still lives there, was surprised that his home was on the list.

"We had some major damage to the home; the tree came through the house and damaged several of the trusses," Eddins said. "We are inhabiting the home and we are living here now."

Another home listed as destroyed was off Julington Creek Road. There is major damage inside, but repairs are underway.

FEMA is now working on assistance for those affected. But for people like Eddins, his insurance company is picking up the major portion of the cost of repairs, although he still has a very high deductible to pay.

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"State Farm sent out their adjuster, done some preliminary estimates, and they haven't gotten back to me yet," Eddins said. "We do have a relationship with a contractor that has agreed to come make the repairs. Once we get the information to State Farm (and) satisfy our deductible (they'll) cut a check and start the work."

The report also said water levels in homes ranged from 1 inch to 6 feet. 

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.