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Selondieu Lubin looked at his home’s cluttered mess.

In the dining room, piled on the table and chairs was nearly everything his family owned. There were lamps, a fan, phone chargers and boxes of food. A boxspring and mattress were pulled from the back room and lined up in the hallway. The rest of the furniture was stacked in the living room.

The family had moved the stuff in a hurry Sunday night, as the rainwater started to rush in.

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This was after the roof blew off. Lubin watched it happen. First, at the 50-year-old building across from his at the Gordon River Apartments in the low-income River Park community. Then, from out a second-story window, he saw the clawing winds from Hurricane Irma tear at the top of his apartment.

“It felt like a tornado,” Lubin, 52, said. “I don’t think it was a hurricane.”

Irma, which slammed downtown Naples as a Category 3 storm with winds exceeding 140 mph, ripped the roofs off three of the 12 buildings at the apartment complex on the Gordon River. The apartments were built in the 1960s as a Section 8 housing project. Many poor minorities still live there.

The affected buildings include about two dozen units. Two families said they may be temporarily displaced.

“I can’t stay because if the rain comes, we’re going to get wet again,” Lubin said.

He said his family was heading to the nearby River Park Community Center.

“It’s very bad, but we've got no choice,” Lubin said.

The facility doesn’t have food or power, but Naples government opened its doors to any displaced tenants from the apartments, Fire Chief Pete DiMaria said.

“We said, ‘Let's get them off the street right now,’” DiMaria said. “But we’re not really set up to keep them there long term.”

Matt Pikus, landlord of the apartments, said he was working Monday to install temporary tarps on his buildings. Replacing the roof will take more time, he said.

“There’s not many people or service providers down here right now,” Pikus said. “It’s going to be a bit of a process. We don’t have power down there right now.”

With the roofs gone, Irma’s winds blew through the apartment units and leveled wooden dressers. The rain puddled on bedroom floors and punched holes in bathroom ceilings.

Tenants scrambled to protect their property. They stuffed their belongings in clear plastic bags and piled them on top of cardboard boxes filled with canned food. TVs were wrapped in black trash bags or covered with blankets.  

Furniture had to be moved away from leaking ceilings. Or 3-gallon buckets were used to catch the drips.

Emines Alliance, 50, said he, his wife and their two kids may relocate to the community center. There was 1 to 2 inches of flooding in his apartment Monday morning. The whole place smelled like stale water.

“People cannot live here,” he said.

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