The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on August 9, 2003 · Page 17
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 17

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, August 9, 2003
Page 17
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ISA THE PALM BEACH POST SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 2003 How to help; How to get help To check the legitimacy of contractor offering rePalrs; State Department of Business and Professional Regulation. (850) 487-1395, automated, answered 24 hours. Riviera Beach occupational license division: 845-4155, weekdays. If you need help from the American Red Cmss::11tr' automated information 24 hours; live responses for disaster aid beginning at 8:30 a.m. To offer donations to the American Red Cross: Call 1-800-RED-CROSS or send a check to the American Red Cross Greater Palm Beach Area Chapter, 825 Fern St. P.O. Box 870, West Palm Beach, a 33402-0870. For answers to emergency questions, and non-emergencies such as resumption of mail delivery: City of Riviera Beach disaster line, 882-1621, answered 24 hours. If your home or business does not have electricity and has no structural damage to the electric service, call FPL 1-800-40UTAGE r;7 r . ""-: - ITT v, ' - V r?fe feraSSSsSS r.- . jr. iif , Mta fi i Tim WORKERS TO SHIFT JOBS: Pepsi - r i I. . Derore repairs are maaeana proaucuon can rebume ai iu niviem Deaui Pepsi plant stalled, but not idle if will be weeks before production lines begin rolling again. By DEANA POOLE Palm Beach Post Staff Writer RIVIERA BEACH Employees returned to work at the Pepsi-Cola plant Friday, the day after a tornado ripped off the roof above them and caused millions of dollars in damage. But it was far from an ordinary work day. Sounds of chain saws pierced the air. Tree limbs and debris were strewn about the property. Cars were dented from fallen trees, their windows blown out by wind. Two flatbed trucks with cranes spent hours lifting a Trailmobile trailer from a canal where it came to rest after being tossed 30 feet A diver searched, unsuccessfully, in the canal for the trailer's axle and wheels. Inside the warehouse, it was much quieter. Production had stopped. A row of empty 2-liter Pepsi Vanilla bottles scheduled to hit stores this weekend to compete with Vanilla Coke sat on the production line waiting to be filled. Company officials estimate it will be 60 to 90 days before production at the 200,000-square-foot plant gears back up. In that time, the Garden Road plant normally would produce between 5.4 million and 8.1 million Victims warned to By SUSAN SALISBURY Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Tornado victims should be on the alert for unlicensed or unscrupulous contractors looking to cash in on torn roofs, ripped aluminum siding and broken windows, state and county officials warned Friday. Construction repair scams are the most likely type of fraud that could come out of the storm damage, said Mike Edmondson, spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office, although he said he had not heard reports of any. Price gouging for materials and supplies isn't likely and hasn't been reported, he said. Friday, law enforcement officials were questioning anyone who wanted to enter A Garden Walk, the suburban Palm Beach Gardens mobile home park where many of the trailers were damaged. This is a very tight type of emergency damage," Edmondson said. "That makes it less possible for people to take advantage." Officials want to avoid any similarities to what happened after Hurricane Andrew, which left 150,000 people iftmij ffii rrft jiiTirtit aflmiiriiTM i il l mm Cola expects it to take up to 90 days - j.: -. x r:. nnAU ROOF IN TATTERS: Air-conditioning Beach. Repairing the damage to the cases of soft drinks, officials said. This weekend, crews will start fixing the roof on the warehouse. "It's going to be a massive task," said Don Mathis, Pepsi spokesman. No official damage estimate was available. Only minor injuries were reported, which Mathis said officials are grateful for, since 100 second-shift workers were at the plant when the storm hit. Another plus: The tanks of ammonia, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, which are located outside, weren't ... Residents should beware of contractors who solicit door-to-door, arrive in unmarked vehicles, have a post office box or temporary address or claim to be from another county or state. homeless in 1992 and attracted a slew of unethical contractors. There may be unlicensed people who in fact attempt to exploit the situation," said Terry McElroy, spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. They may not actually be carpenters or roofers or electricians." Beware of those who solicit door-to-door, arrive in unmarked vehicles, have a post office box or temporary address, claim to be from another county or state and are in the area solely to help disaster victims, the state advised. Also avoid those who ask you to secure the necessary permits, which makes you responsible for the work done. Don't pay all the money up front. Most licensed contractors don't ask for more thaiya small deposit. Before hiring anyone to m m m mini plant, said Don Mathis, a Pepsi nff nn rlmo Ui mill rrr tin tknm um wumcia uui aaoign uicm units and bits of scrap metal litter 200,000-square-foot plant will be damaged and didn't leak, although aluminium and other metal was flying through the air, Mathis said. Although production is at a halt for the time being, no workers will be laid off, Mathis said. But they will be shifted to other jobs. The Pepsi plant was perhaps the hardest hit in the Garden Industrial Park. But it wasn't alone. Several garage doors were ripped off the building of Gator Leasing Inc., a truck leasing company. Elsewhere in the park, trees were uprooted and utility crews were watch for scams fix anything, check and verify competency licenses and license numbers of all those in the building trades, including general contractors and specialists such as carpenters, plumbers, aluminum specialists and awning installers, said Kurt Eismann, director of the Palm Beach County Contractors Certification Division. "If you are a licensed contractor, you have to have the license number on your business card, on the proposal and on your truck," Eismann said. Any county competency license also must be registered with the state, and the state issues licenses that allow work to be performed anywhere in Florida. Using a licensed contractor helps ensure the work is done correctly, that the contractor is insured and that laborers ail suppliers are paid so property owners are not ft.. 4a SHANNON O'BRIENStaff Photographer spokesman. The company will not lay nthar rt if !oo fnr n rtn iu uum uuuco iui nun. GREG LOVETTStaff Photographer the roof of the Pepsi plant in Riviera a massive task, a spokesman said. working on restoring power lines. Cheney Brothers Inc., a food service distribution company, lost power for a short tune, said David Bas- kett, transportation manager. Friday, the company co ordinated with the American Red Cross to distribute water, Gatorade and other supplies to the Red Cross chapter on Fern Street. Other shipments of food, including 30 cases of fried chicken, went to a catering company, Starlight, which prepared meals to send to the chapter. faced with liens, Eismann said. Anyone who has a problem with a licensed contractor may be able to collect up to $25,000 from the construction industry recovery fund, Eismann said. "If they are unlicensed, and they take your money and run, the state recovery fund will not talk to you," Eismann said. Obtain as many bids as possible from licensed contractors, and in the meantime, hire one to do a temporary repair to protect your house or commercial building, Eismann said. Employees from the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation visited Palm Beach County's damaged areas Friday, handing out leaflets telling people to make sure people they hire are licensed and in good standing. This is a preventative measure," spokeswoman Meg Shannon said. "It's important for us to warn people about what can happen. There can be people trying to profit from it. I susansalisburyJt) Most homes damaged All the cruel, old jokes about mobile homes and tornados were dusted off on Friday as it became clear that the A Garden Walk mobile-home park had suffered most of the serious damage from Thursday's tornado. Palm Beach County emergency managers said at least 17 homes were a total loss in the 70-acre, 484-unit neighborhood tucked into an unincorporated nook between Palm Beach Gardens and Riviera Beach. Neighborhood battered The Monroe Heights neighborhood was the most heavily damaged residential area inside the city of Riviera Beach. Florida Power & light reported about 20 downed power poles and lines in the area bordered roughly by Blue Heron Boulevard on the south, Old Dixie Highway to the east, 28th Street on the norm and Avenue S to the west BellSouth also reported downed wires affecting about 200 customers in the area. The company said one of the lines would be repaired by Friday night and the other sometime today. Police limited access to the area on Friday to residents, manning checkpoints at neighborhood entrances along Blue Heron Boulevard and Old Dixie Highway. Power mostly restored Officials predicted on Friday afternoon that power would be restored to all but a few customers by the end of the day. Electricity was knocked out to about 30,000 customers in the immediate wake of Thursday's tornado and storm. Most of the homes and businesses affected by Thursday's outage were east of Interstate 95 in Riviera Beach. 1-95 open Commuters driving a short stretch of Interstate 95 just north of Blue Heron Boulevard were greeted Friday morning by the sight of scattered and twisted metal glittering tinsel like in the median and across both shoulders. The damage near the Central Industrial Park, including a toppled chain-link fence and broken windows at the office of Nicklaus Golf Equipment, was the only major evidence of Thurs day s storm visible from the interstate. Plaza reopens Most of the 40-odd shops in Driftwood Plaza, on the east side of U.S. 1 just south of Ocean Bluffs Boulevard, were open for business on Friday. High winds on Thursday savaged the plaza's roof, scattering pieces of it across the nark ing lot The storm also toppled at least one light pole and uprooted two palm trees. Salon Antonio, the only business that suffered interior damage, remained closed Friday so water damage could be repaired. Debris cleared Chopped-up trees lav in neat piles ready for the garbage trucks on Friday in The River at The Bluffs neighborhood just north of Marcinski Road, on the west side of U.S. 1 in Jupiter. Homes along East River Park Drive and Harbour-side Circle seemed to have suffered the most damage during Thursday's storm. with uprooted trees, damaged garage doors and missing light fixtures. 1D0 DAMAGE ROUNDUP Service disruptions Though it was spared major damage from Thursday's tornado, Lake Park residents still could experience garbage collection disruptions in the next two weeks, Town Manager Douglas Drymon said Friday. Several of the town's sanitation workers live in Riviera Beach and cannot work while they attend to their damaged homes. The town also might send one of its garbage trucks to Riviera Beach to help in the cleanup effort 364 emergency calls Palm Beach County Fire Rescue received an average of one call every 30 seconds between 4 and p.m. Thursday, the hours just before and immediately after the storm and tornado struck. Two arrests Despite fears that looting might occur Thursday night and early Friday morning, Palm Beach County sheriffs deputies arrested only two men suspected of actually doing so. Javier Ozuna-Sanchez, 23, and Antonio Ozuna-Sanchez, 35, were arrested on loitering charges in an industrial park just outside Riviera Beach. A large law enforcement response to the tornado was credited with helping to maintain order. All of Riviera Beach's roughly 100 police officers worked through the night They were joined by about 80 sheriff s deputies and po lice officers from Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach. Traffic delays People driving south from Martin County to Palm Beach County on 1-95 faced a massive slowdown before the tornado even touched down on Thursday. The driver of a tractor trailer headed south in the outside lane of 1-95 just north of Indiantown Road lost control in heavy rain at about 4:45 p.m. The trailer skidded across the inside lanes and into the concrete median wall, destroying a 25-foot section and colliding with a Dodge pickup truck. Both drivers suffered minor injuries, and a passenger in the pickup was unhurt All the southbound lanes were closed for several hours. Rounding third The third base line on a baseball field at Wells Recreation Complex in Riviera Beach was occupied by a downed light tower on Friday The tornado also deposited a cargo container from the adjacent railroad tracks near right field. No casualties ' Thursday's news that no one was killed or seriously injured appeared even more fortuitous on Friday as the dimensions of the tornado became clearer. About 10,000 people live in the damage path of Thursday's tornado, according to a Palm Beach Post analysis of information from the National Weather Service and the U.S. Census Bureau. The damage path was defined as the area in which winds were in the F0 and Fl range on the Fujita Tornado Scale. Staff writers Robert P. King, William Cooper Jr., Sarah Eisenhauer, Cynthia Kop-kowski, Scott McCabe, William M. Hartnett, Ron Hayes, Chuck McGinness, Tim O'Meilia, Deana Poole and Nirvi Shah contributed to this report, whickwas written by William M. Hartnett. '

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