Florentino Acosta said he loves to take pictures of wildlife, "but not inside my home."
Thursday night, he woke up in the living room of his Switzer Village trailer with a black bear breaking in. Acosta had fallen asleep while watching television.
His son, Paul, was shouting, and the only thing standing between him and the bear was a wooden door that the animal soon forced open.
"He overpowered me," the senior Acosta said.
Paul Acosta said the bear was inside for 30 to 45 minutes before it left. Most of the time it was moving between the two ends of the living room, where Acosta family members were chasing it back and forth.
The bear got out of the trailer a couple of minutes before the police arrived. Florentino Acosta said he didn't call the police right away because he lost track of the telephone in the excitement.
The bear probably weighed 500 to 600 pounds, he said, although his son said it wasn't that big. It didn't need to be, he added.
No one was hurt. Florentino Acosta said the bear raised some blood pressure, but he was lucky his son woke him up. His wife, Virginia, said she was shaking badly.
"He's been here before," Florentino Acosta said of the bear.
He doesn't believe the bear has been inside his home of eight years before Thursday, but he has seen it outside.
"He's bigger now," Acosta said.
He has seen plenty of bears. At the back of Switzer Village, there is only a creek between his property and the woods.
Laurie Dubish, who lives about four trailers away, said she heard the son calling for help around midnight. Bears, she said, "were in my yard last summer. I wouldn't let my kids out."
Dubish moved to the trailer park last year, not knowing about the bears coming down from the woods. She was so concerned about bears at her door last year that she barricaded it from the inside with furniture.
Dubish said authorities should do something about problem bears.
"Are they waiting for our kids to get mauled?" she asked.
Dubish said she knows this bear will be back.
Florentino Acosta said he knows the bear could be back, too. It's only the beginning of spring, and the bears aren't long out of hibernation.
Police said the incident at the trailer was the second call of a reported bear-sighting this spring. Capt. Tom Porter said their garbage didn't attract the bear to the trailer.
Florentino Acosta said the garbage was inside, secured and not touched.
The only thing he can figure is that the family had fried fish for dinner and the smell must have lingered.
"No more fish," he said, quickly adding that he is a devout Catholic and wouldn't give up fish. "Maybe we'll cook it differently."
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