The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 15, 1999 · Page 18
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September 15, 1999

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 18

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, September 15, 1999
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Page 18
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14A THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1999 LOYD FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE r. Beefed-up patrols found 'nothing going on' computer log of fire-rescue calls in other parts of the county, looking for a station that was doing more than Station 33. He didn't have much luck. "You can tell there's nothing going on," he said. "Usually, you can pull up the incidents and see at least one car accident There are no car accidents." ' ' Rescue workers praised the public for staying home through the afternoon, when Floyd's winds were expected in Palm Beach County. , In all, Ferguson admitted, it was good training for rescuers and the public for when a large hurricane makes landfall here. - ; , "But at least we're prepared," he said dryly, "for when Gert comes along." rubber boots, unused since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, others roamed the streets looking for looters and plywood thieves. It was hard to drive more than a few blocks in the north end of the city without seeing a slowly cruising police car. As the afternoon wore on and the hurricane drifted north, people and cars returned to the streets. Drug dealers resumed their usual positions along Tamarind Avenue. "It takes a lot more than this to get them off the streets," Sgt. Chuck Reed said. "Looks like they must have cabin fever." On Third Street, Reed stopped a shirtless man roaming a construction site with a hammer in hand. "I'm looking for nails to hang my plywood," the man told Reed. "You better not do it here, it's trespassing," Reed said. "Better try the other side of the street." After a tame afternoon, firefighters expecting Floyd's fierce winds turned to skeptics. " 'When it gets bad' I've been hearing that all day," groaned engine driver Chris Combs. In nearly 12 hours of duty, Engine 33 handled only about 10 calls, said Lt Robert Cusell even though 14 men were on duty in a shift that usually employs seven. To kill some time, firefighter Brian Groton glanced through a By A. Scharnhorst and Christine Stapleton Palm Beach Post Staff Writers Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Station 33 is generally so hectic that those who work there call it "The Fire Factory." But the two shifts of firefighters, drivers and paramedics who crowded into the station Tuesday found their Hurricane Floyd workload anything but exhilarating. "I expected it to be busier than it's been so far a lot busier," said firefighter Jon Ferguson, who spent much of his day answering false alarms and calls about arcing power lines. For West Palm Beach police, added patrols also had little to do. While some officers searched for UTILITIES , - j V', '"'V ' v i, X' f , . .W . ....Miii. .,mr .1 , i -h ,,n SHERMAN ZENTStaff Photographer 'Margarita Rendon paid a visit to an Albertsons 'grocery store Tuesday to take bottled water back :to her Lake Worth home. Bottled water was a popular item during the past few days. 5 Farmers and growers held collective breaths Some lose power, cable, but phones stay alive MARIO MAZZA HAIR REPLACEMENT SYSTEMS Proudly Welcomes, B. ASHRAF, M.D. on Sept 17th & Sept 18th, 1999 Nationally Recognized Surgical Hair Restoration Specialist and Inventor, with his Main Office located in Manhattan, will now be offering, Complimentary Private Consultations by Appointment Only. Limited Time Introductory Otter Total Procedure Cost Starting At $3,950 (561)624-7772 Appointments are Limited 8895 N. Military Tr., Suite 102B, Palm Beach Gardens service in Palm Beach County or the Treasure Coast by 11 p.m. The company will mobilize repair workers today at 8 a.m. in Palm Beach County and at noon in the Treasure Coast where they are needed. Only 30 percent of BellSouth's phone lines are overhead and exposed to high winds; the rest are underground. Cable company Comcast said at 8:35 p.m. it had no major outages, but later in the evening customers in West Palm Beach and Delray Beach said they lost Comcast service. Adelphia did not have service outage information available Tuesday. But about 300 homes in The Meadows subdivision near Hypoluxo Road and Congress Avenue were without cable Tuesday, unable to watch TV coverage of the storm. "Here we're sitting all boarded up and not knowing anything," said resident Barbara Glaese, who complained that representatives of Adelphia Cable were unresponsive to the community's complaints. "This is an emergency. We've called and we get another state," she said. Glaese said her house has had electricity all day but lost cable at about 6:00 a.m. Adelphia has 350,000 customers in Palm Beach County, while Comcast has 140,000. Adelphia representative Chuck Blaine said service calls were routed to a center in Blairsville, N.Y. on Tuesday. Blaine said Adelphia technicians will be restoring service today. B Staff writer Matt Mossman contributed to this report. FPL was working to return power to thousands in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. By John Murawski Palm Beach Post Staff Writer As high winds approached Palm Beach County Tuesday, public utilities began suspending regular operations and shifting into hurricane mode. At noon, BellSouth stopped dispatching technicians to make phone repairs in Palm Beach County. In the Treasure Coast, the technicians were called off at 4 p.m. "We don't want our folks up there in bucket trucks servicing aerial cable in 40 mile-per-hour winds," said Rob Seitz, BellSouth's spokesman. At 1 1 p.m., Florida Power & Light's St. Lucie Nuclear Plant on Hutchinson Island was running at 33 percent capacity; FPL said it was ready to shut down if necessary. Under federal law, nuclear power plants must shut down two hours before wind speed reaches hurricane velocity. By 9 p.m., with the storm moving past South Florida, FPL dispatched crews to make repairs in southern Palm Beach County while damage reports shifted northward. FPL reported at 9 p.m. that 34,000 customers were without power in Palm Beach County, or 5.8 percent of the utility's business and residential customers. In the Treasure Coast, 25,000 were without power, or 16.6 percent of FPL's customers there. BellSouth did not report any loss of MEDICAL SCENE IflifSIDiSIl I Pill 111 EREE REPORT reveals what the insurance companies don't want you to know. Don't settle your case until you read this free report. Call foil fre 1. 800-847-1638 24 hour recorded message l By early Tuesday, the area's farmers and nursery owners had done what they could do to prepare for Floyd. Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar Corp., which has "about 165,000 acres of sugar cane it plans to begin .harvesting next month, drained fields and stowed ', equipment. ', "We just hope we don't get too many inches of ?rain," spokeswoman Judy Sanchez said. Standing water can rot roots, killing the cane plant. Citrus growers, many of whom are a week away from beginning to pick grapefruit and tangerines, also worried about standing water and fruit-' bruising wind. Nursery owner Wayne Legum moved tractors Tinto warehouses and watered plants in case the wind I damaged irrigation systems. Legum, who grows potted foliage on a total of 60 'acres in several spots in southern Palm Beach j County, lost a nursery in Homestead during Hurri-) cane Andrew in 1992. ; "There's nothing you can really do to prepare yourself,"hesaid. i Residents call in about loose debris Police received dozens of calls from residents around the county about loose debris at construction sites and in neighborhoods Tuesday. Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach ; County Sheriffs Office, said debris became a big ; concern for residents as winds began to pick up Tuesday afternoon. "There is always a chance that seemingly in- nocuous pieces of wood can be picked up by high winds and become missiles," he said. "But there is nothing we can do about it at this point." He said the county might need to look at the 1 problem before the next hurricane draws near. Brian Benson, a dispatcher with the Boca Raton Police Department, said his department received several calls Tuesday as well. "We have been asking citizens to take pictures of trie debris and their home for liability's sake," he ; said. "With the winds picking up we don't have too ; much availability to go out to all of those," he said. "It's really a civil situation that we can't do much about." Scooter rider makes Titanic mistake One of Hurricane Floyd's only Palm Beach ; County casualties Tuesday was a water scooter pi-; loted by Lantana businessman Jere Dixon near the Boynton Inlet Dixon rode the borrowed craft across the Intra-! coastal Waterway from Lantana and headed out the ! inlet around 9 a.m. as waves crashed over the top of : the fishing pier there. Soon after entering the ocean, Dixon became ; separated from the scooter after jumping a wave and ; was unable to retrieve it. ; After bobbing in the surf for awhile, the craft was ; last seen floating through the inlet into the Intrac- oastal. I As the only person pursuing recreation in the evacuated area, Dixon's plight drew attention from '. representatives of three different law enforcement ; agencies the sheriffs office, Manalapan and ' Boynton Beach - who watched from a bridge over the inlet. ; "There were supposed to be about 20 of us skii-ing . . . We chase the hurricanes up and down the beach," Dixon said, pooh-poohing suggestions that ' the seas were too rough. "It's not even bad out there. I I've seen regular days that were worse than this." Lawmakers urge insurance aid ' While South Florida boarded up, three mem-'; bers of Congress urged lawmakers to consider legislation to protect homeowners from loss of in-! surance after natural disasters. ! "The omnipresent threat of killer hurricanes is ! destroying the quality of life in our state," said Rep. ; E. Clay Shaw, a Republican from Fort Lauderdale, ;; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Miami, ; and Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from Miramar i in a letter addressed to House Speaker J. Dennis ' Hastert of Illinois. They urged support for a proposed bill, the Ho-' meowners' Insurance Act, which would allow in-; surance companies, often financially crippled by ! natural disasters, to borrow money from a federally ; guaranteed national pool to provide immediate re-: lief for their policyholders. The pool would be financed by assessments paid ; by each insurance company. By providing backup insurance, the bill would make it easier for homeowners in disaster-prone ' areas to get insurance. '', Staff writers George Bennett, Noah Bierman, Alex-: andra Navarro Clifton, Shannon Colavecchio, Brian : Crecente, Mary Ellen Flannery, Clay Lambert, Matt Mossman, Paul Owen, and Sue Schultz of Palm Beach - Post-Qx News Service contributed to this roundup. BEARS CUSTOMS mm For the Storm and Security Protection More People Trust Call Today jotaRlf Home Estimate 1-800-225-0077 Don't wait until it's too late! SEARS Custom Shutters are designed and engineered to help protect your home and possessions from storms and intruders. Hospitals treat few, but cancel elective surgeries By Sanjay Bhatt Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Falls from ladders, lacerated limbs and sawdust eyes were the worst injuries stemming from Hurricane Floyd, local hospitals reported. At least 102 people from Boca Raton to Vero Beach went to emergency rooms for treatment Tuesday. Boca Raton Community Hospital, Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee and JFK Medical Center in Atlantis saw most of them. Palm Beach County's two trauma centers, St. Mary's Medical Center and Delray Medical Center, said no one came to their emergency rooms for hurricane-related injuries, and the Treasure Coast's major hospitals reported only a few. "Most of our traumas come from 1-95," Delray Medical spokeswoman Pat McCarthy said. With few people on the road, that meant hardly any wrecks. In preparation for the storm, the hospital stocked up on water 23,000 gallons and enough IV solutions, medicines and bed linens to last a week, McCarthy said. Hospitals from Boca Raton to Vero Beach canceled all elective surgeries and other outpatient treatments scheduled for Tuesday. That left Terry Cayo in the lurch. She flew home from her New Mexico vacation Monday with a broken arm. She needed a bone specialist but when she got to Boca Raton, all she could do was visit the emergency room, hoping a doctor could convince someone to see her this week. "I can't get anyone on the phone," Cayo said, her arm in a sling. "It's frustrating." Many hospitals planned to cancel elective surgeries today: Boca Raton Community, Palms West, Wellington Regional Medical Center, Martin Memorial Medical Center in Stuart and St. Lucie County's two ColumbiaHCA hospitals. Still, one hospital unit was busy: the maternity ward. At least 40 babies were born Tuesday, but no babies were named Floyd. "I don't think people like that name, what do you think?" said Cheryl Anders, a Wellington Regional spokeswoman. D j Staff Writer Mary Lou Picket contributed to this story. Sears Has Been in Business for Over 100 Years and is America's Largest Home Improvement Company Sears Custom Shutters Offers Free. In-Home Estimates Sears Custom Shutters Offers Flexible Payment Options to Suit Your Budget Sean OiaigeHoire Improvement Plan. Sears Caid. Vso MasterCard, Discover American Cypress. Cosh or Check You ihoose the payment option I ml s test for wu Custom Shutters Quality Pwdurls. Quality tmtaliuttons. Creat Savings Proudly Sold. 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