News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida on December 28, 1997 · Page 39
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News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida · Page 39

Fort Myers, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 28, 1997
Page 39
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NEWS-PRESS, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1997 5D STATE u n n n 1-1 tJ Remarkably, there were very few injuries,' The Associated Press TAMPA An early morning tornado tore through two central Florida communities Saturday, jolting people out of their sleep, demolishing 60 mobile homes and injuring eight people, authorities said. The most serious injuries reported were suffered by a Haines City couple whose home was blown down their street block. Both fractured their pelvis after the swirling winds lifted their mobile home in the air, flipped it and swept it down the street, said Sonya Dodds, spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriffs Office. Severe storms with drenching rains swamped central Florida's Gulf Coast, spawning the early morning twister. It cut a path of destruction as it raked Polk County, moving from southwest to northeast. Two other people were treated at , a Winter Haven hospital and released. "Remarkably, there were very few injuries," Dodds said after inspecting Lake Regional Mobile Home Park at Eagle Lake near Haines City. Jill Weinischke, of emergency management services, said 53 m t- 'jt f """"" 'V' -V'j -r- L SURVEYING THE DAMAGE: Lake Region Mobile Home Village residents Bill Baranyai, left, and Carl Vogel, survey the damage to two homes, one of which is on top of the other in Haines City after a tornado touched down in the park early Saturday morning. The tornado demolished 60 mobile homes and injured several people, authorities said. Photos by the Associated Press PATH OF DESTRUCTION: The path cut by a tornado which struck the Lake Region Village can be seen from the air Saturday in Haines City. mobile homes were destroyed in Haines City and 31 others were partially damaged. Mobile homes were. turned upside down. Scraps of aluminum were stuck in tree branches. Car ports were splintered. A trailer rooftop crashed down on a car, buckling it like an accordion. Christmas tree ornaments were strewn on the ground, along with personal belongings. Nearby, Boone Middle School sustained serious structural damage. Eleven portable classrooms were destroyed. In Winter Haven, three mobile home parks were hit with 10 homes severely damaged, Weinischke said. Some 50-75 other trailers sustained varying amounts of damage. An estimated 2,500 Polk County residents lost power as the tornado knocked down trees and power lines. Service was being restored Saturday. The twister struck two businesses and several residences. One was a two story house that had its second floor whipped off by the storm. "There was so much debris," Dodds said. "It was difficult to assess damage because it was so dark. We had to wait for daylight and go door-to-door." TORNADO WEB SITE To learn more about tornadoes online: Tornadoes: http:cc. usu.edukforsythTornado.html In the Tampa Bay area, about 80 miles northwest, Mariner's Cove Mobile Home Park in Clearwater had standing water four feet deep. Fire rescue crews evacuated frail and elderly by rubber boat. Other residents sloshed through knee deep water to drier ground at the recreation center. Some homes, apartments, businesses and intersections in low-lying areas of Tampa Bay were underwater. Three days of rain left the already saturated ground in poor drainage areas unable to absorb any more moisture. Although the tornado watch was lifted during the day and the rains subsided, shelters in Tampa and Haines City remained open for families unable to return to their homes. An emergency operations spokeswoman said not many had come to the shelters. nvironmerrtal funds face Urayfele by 2000 Audit reveals state EPA borrowing too much The Associated Press Tallahassee Environmental trust funds could be in jeopardy by 2000 if officials don't cut spending or raise fees, according to a state audit. The state Department of Environmental Protection has trust funds that pay for a variety of services, from aquatic weed control to waste water permitting. Spending from the funds is not supposed to exceed the revenue they generate, but an audit shows the agency is borrowing from the funds or spending the capital. "Trust funds are supposed to last, and there have to be measures put in place to make them last," said Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Catherine Arnold. For example, the audit showed the department borrowed $3.2 million from a trust fund for lake cleanups to establish a program to permit and monitor municipal waste water. Administrators say they planned to repay the loan with permit fees, but the revenue was lower than expected and the money was not repaid to the Pollution Recovery Trust Fund. The fund has now been eliminated. "I think we're appreciative of the audit because it validates some things we've been saying about the agency's funding sources," said Nevin Smith, DEP executive services director. "We're either going to have to continue to cut our budget in the next five years or we're going to have to change the law and increase our permit fees," Smith said. "Trust funds are supposed to last, and there have to be measures put in place to make them last." CATHERINE ARNOLD Department of Environmental Protection Casino Cruises -MOE FUN! THURSDAY EVENING CRUISE the GULF OF MEXICO! FREE DINNER Fort Myers Beach 7651111 OR 1-800 310-565 I I Dr. Scott Geller Has Performed Over 7,000 Vision Correction Procedures Including RK. & ALK , For Nearsightedness and Farsightedness h. SOUTH FLORIDA EYE CLINIC jilC93 29 BarkleT Circle ,:r V!jfry. Fort Myers QSafflKHBK 275-8222 H! mm mi mi own so nssroisiu too pavment has a right to REfusE to w ami mm on k reimbursed fos payment fob m othea sebvice. exmimm or 'FBIMl WHICH IS PFHFOHMFO AS RESULT OF MO WITHIN T? HOOHS OF RiSPOHFlW TO THE AOVERIISEIM! FOR THE FREE DISCOUNTED OR REOUCEO FEE SERVICE EAINAII0 OR WV'NT'HIR pH1cinnAllBWVFCWII' RFnKHICCinniiRi'HFPA'ifNKWII'U'inN Puii't deplane ... I&efisco! lew Cs&insts A!s !!jFp 'Scmam dim turned cmd fmited (Snm1983 . ill ill The Best Warranty Available Professional Personnel 2 Years Labor 5 Years Material Quality Service ' Licensed & Insured free timaM 1-800-982-5442 Fort Myers 3043 Canal Street Naples Showroom 1804 Airport Rd. So. 1 w? i -f'A v ' "-jv. Srkt l jfi --eirrM I' SALVAGING POSSESSIONS: Hignio Guereca carries family pictures salvaged from his overturned mobile home that was destroyed Saturday. No fatalities were reported but seven people were transported to local hospitals. it - . ImWJ 1 ipiiiwm Mh. tf . Resident picks up the pieces AMID RUINS: Victims sort through their belongings in the ruins of a home in Haines City Saturday. The Associated Press HAINES CITY - Asleep on her bed, Tess Bentley awoke early Saturday to a high-pitched whine. Knowing what the sound was, she took two steps and dove into her bedroom closet full of clothes. Within seconds, she was spinning in midair in the grip of a tornado that swept through her Haines City neighborhood. She was still in her closet when her home landed about 50 yards away on top of a neighbor's house. More than 100 homes were damaged about 4:10 a.m. Saturday by the tornado that tore through the Lake Region Mobile Village, a retirement community of about 600 fami lies, 35 miles southwest of Orlando. More than half of those homes suffered extensive damage, said Orville Johnston, president of the homeowner's association. Bentley's two-bedroom home landed upside down on top of Peg and Carmon Howe's two-bedroom home, down the street. Bentley, alone in her home, was trapped for two hours underneath siding, shelves and insulation before rescuers freed her from the debris. "I said, "This isn't my kitchen. I'm in Carmon's kitchen," she said. "I didn't understand that I was in their house." Bentley, suffered only bumps and bruises and was recovering late Saturday at her parents' home near by. Howe suffered a broken back, but was released from the hospital. Her husband, Carmon, uninjured, escaped through a window. , Left behind were Christmas tree ornaments strewn across the ground alongside personal belongings and twisted aluminum siding. Areas near Tampa, about 80 miles northwest, were socked with flooding. "I just made it in (the closet) and everything started to spin," said Bentley, 48. Bentley's parents picked up the belongings they could find from their daughter's home. They hadn't found one of Bentley's most prized possessions: the copper box containing the ashes of her late husband. Starlite Pools ? IV II Why Invest In A Starlite Pool? of Cape Coral Inc. 861 $.6. 47th Terr. Cape Coral We Have Been Building Quality Pools since 1985 Starlite's Owner Personally Supervises All Construction Personalized Service you Deserve and should Expect Typical Project Completion is in 30 Days "Starlite Pools" The Name t0 Trust ,n Swimmin9 Pools 549-5366 State License CPC048240 Dive into a Starlite Pool Today! erase? q mm - .is.isiib.wi:, . ra.-AS.jijiai.hA;. ... i.,,i,iiiias;ij;-"-.! t', j-ijiiaaa;.-.,1 MHTSEL a 'Mlltlii. vuii iiiUirnif.ii TrjFi Trnr - ll If M if 8 ? - B I rwili Ie MMPolM B 1119 H u ! l ll Is l lake Exll 22, Go west S miles on Colonial Blvd. 4H From! .ane Coral take the MldPoInt Bridge follow -w Colonial Blvd. 2 miles, W M A " - rLJU? v BJ i p til y r fx iT

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