Mother of sick baby struggles for 12 days without power

Son born premature needs breathing machine that requires power

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A South Metro mother of four spent a long 12 days after Hurricane Matthew relying on neighbors for power to charge her 6-month-old son's breathing machine.

Katey Komula's baby, Cameron Madrid, looks healthy and well on the outside, but he was born three months early and has trouble breathing.

He has to be put on a breathing machine at night, but he hasn't been able to use it regularly since Hurricane Matthew because his home lost power.

“It's so hot and humid, and he's starting to get congested. That's the hard part,” Komula said. “He does have the apnea monitor that has to be plugged in, and it does have a hole to charge, so we've been able to charge it at a neighbor's house.”

She said she had to leave the house with Cameron when he got too hot.

“There's a couple times he gets really sweaty, so I would just put him in the car and ride to Walmart, and hang out somewhere where there's AC, and he'll calm down” Komula said. “The heat is what gets him the most.”

Komula emailed News4Jax to explain her situation with JEA and see if we could help.

She said she reached out to the company for nearly two weeks after the storm, even telling them her baby had a medical emergency and needed power.

“Every time I call, they're like, 'You're at the bottom of the list.' Yesterday, they told us we are on the bottom of the list, and I'm like, 'Is there any way to bump us up?'” Komula said.

News4Jax was with Komula on Wednesday for the emotional moment when her home's power was restored.

She cried as her lights came back on.

“They're ready to come home, you know. This is their home,” Komula said of her family. “Nothing like your own bed, your own shower. It's a burden, and I don't like being a burden to anyone else, taking your whole family to go shower at someone's house.”

News4Jax contacted JEA to find out why Komula's lights weren't turned on sooner. Officials said they're looking into her account and will let us know what they find out.

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