Nicole Raymond watched teary-eyed Tuesday morning as a trackhoe snatched up the last of her Inverness mobile home.
The house at 10022 E. Bass Circle, in an area known as East Cove, was partially demolished in the morning, with debris scattered throughout the yard. More of the home, which had been labeled unsafe by the county, came down later in the day. The rest will be demolished Wednesday.
Raymond, who threatened to not "go down without a fight,” stood by, displaying the occasional outburst as the demolition continued.
“That house means a lot to me,” said Raymond, who no longer resided there but visited often while her late brother lived in the home.
Also watching the action was neighbor Earl Carrico. He was elated to see the house come down, and said neighbors were, too.
“It’s been a terrible problem for four or five years,” Carrico said. “Everyone in the neighborhood is (happy).”
Raymond, 49, drove up in a black pickup truck shortly before the crew arrived to start work. Much of it was already strewn about on the ground because the back sheds on the property had already been demolished Monday afternoon.
The home was deemed unsafe by county code compliance officers in December 2018. The property has been an issue with county code compliance for years and has had multiple calls for service there, according to Scott McKinney, director of the county’s code compliance division.
McKinney said there are liens totaling $7,839 on the property: $2,613 for having an overgrown lawn, $2,613 for unlicensed vehicles and $2,613 for junk and debris.
Raymond said she moved out to another home around the block after Hurricane Irma damaged it beyond repair. She said she was not physically able to take care of the property but was denied the chance to make it right.
Raymond said she never received notice of the house demolition even though an orange notice had been posted at the residence since April. She said she also did not receive anything by registered mail because it never got forwarded.
McKinney said Raymond got plenty of notice to improve the property.
The property was posted on April 24, 2019, notifying all interested parties of the impending demolition and notice went out via certified mail, he said.
Raymond had until May 28, 2019, to appeal the demolition but did not do so, he said.
“The property owner has in the last few weeks asked if she could remove her personal belongings from the residence,” McKinney said. “I advised her that she could right up until our contractor moved in to begin the demolition.”
Ralph Mercier, driver-operator with All Around Tractor, said the house was one of the worst he’s seen.
“Bad ain’t the word for it,” he said, noting a strong chemical odor emanating from the back.
Mercier said the county has been cracking down on unsafe, unsanitary homes that are not in compliance.
“Citrus County doesn’t mess around,” he said.