News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida on October 29, 2005 · Page 4
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News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida · Page 4

Fort Myers, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Page 4
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PI WIMk neWS-preSS.COm: Latest stcrm news and information updated A4 1 Nation & World I news-press.comhurricane THE NEWS-PRESS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2005 DEATHS FROM HURRICANE WILMA A look at deaths blamed on Hurricane Wilma: Details of 18 deaths blamed on Hurricane Wilma through Friday, according to state officials. Wilma swept through the southern half of the state early Monday morning as a Category 3 hurricane with winds in excess of 100 mph. BROWARD (3) Unidentified man, mid-40s, died Monday when his motorcycle that hit a downed tree lying across the road. Unidentified man, 55, died Monday when a tree fell on him after he went outside to take branches off his car. Unidentified man, 48, body found Thursday after he succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning after he placed a generator in his living room. COLLIER (8) Mary Howell, 65, of Immokalee, struck on the head and killed by flying roof debris when she tried to evacuate her apartment at 190 Third St S. at 7 a.ra Monday during the storm. A 67-year-old man in North Naples died of a heart attack on Monday while looking at damage on his property. A 70-year-old woman from Bonita Springs suffered from severe emphysema. The storm knocked out electricity to oxygen equipment in her home. She was taken to North Collier Hospital on.Tues-day, where she was pronounced dead. The cause of death was emphysema. A 55-year-old man was struck and killed Wednesday by a falling concrete pillar while he was trying to repair a gate damaged by the storm. In addition, authorities are investigating the death of a man found lying face-down in a pond. It is not determined whether his death can be attributed to the hurricane. A 64-year-old man collapsed and died Thursday while cleaning debris in his yard on Willow Springs Court in ' Naples A 68-year-old woman was found dead Friday morning in the bedroom of her house on Third Avenue South in Naples. A generator, which was not on at the time, was found in the garage. Medical examiners will conduct an autopsy to determine whether her death was caused by the improper use of the generator. Travis L Hudson, 25, of Tampa, on a cleanup crew, was struck and killed by a car at the 107-mile marker of 1-75. . HILLSBOROUGH (1) Unidentified man, 66, died Friday of apparent heart attack after loading and unloading sandbags in preparation of the hurricane. MIAMI-DADE (2) Unidentified adult male, body found floating in water Monday. The boat had had been aboard was found broken and half submerged. Unidentified 1-year-old boy, died Monday while sitting unrestrained on an adult's lap in the front seat of a car that became entangled in a low-hanging cable, pulling down a utility pole atop the car. PALM BEACH (1) Unidentified woman, 82, died Monday from injuries sustained when a slid-ing-glass window she was standing near blew ia ST. JOHNS (1) Unidentified woman, 83, died while evacuating Friday when the car she was a passenger in blew a tire and turned over. ST. LUCIE (2) Unidentified male, 59, died Monday after he collapsed while picking up storm debris. Death attributed to factors including heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Unidentified female, 49, died Monday after the truck she was riding in the back of was struck by another vehicle. INFORMATION PROVIDED BY STATE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER AND THE NEWS-PRESS. "People are getting fed. Soon more and more houses will have their elalricity. Their life will get back to normal." President Bash ''Everything is my mistake. I should have done everything on Sunday. I should have gotten gas, (barbecue) coal, lights, a flashlight I am only blame mvself ' ...... . v .. James Brown of Fort Ltudeiilale ! ." . I- ; - ' r - t V- J i . ( - 5 r - k I ' j, -- 7 j. j . t v. rH I I V 7 . 1 - 1' I V Fred Nathanson reacts Friday as he looks over the damage to his Fort Lauderdale condo. The damage was caused by Hurricane Wilma when his sliding-glass door shattered. Nathanson was blown out of his condo through his front door as wind from the hurricane swept through his condo. ' East coast slow to rebound Miami, Fort Lauderdale areas struggle to cope Knight Ridder News Service MIAMI More gasoline streamed into fuel tanks in South Florida and more lights flickered back to life Friday, but life remained a struggle for tens of thousands of people hit hard by Hurricane Wilma. "We can't take it anymore, knowing you have to go through this every day " said Sherily Louiston, 25, of Fort Lauderdale. "It's stressful" An aerial survey found that Wilma damaged 70 percent of the homes and businesses through much of Broward County, the area that includes Fort Lauderdale and endured the worst blow. Many people won't see insurance adjusters, roofers or utility repair crews for weeks. Schools will remain closed Monday. More than a million customers 631,500 in Broward and 474,400 in Miami-Dade still were without power Friday, Florida Power & Light officials said. Only about one-third of the estimated 2,800 gasoline stations in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties were open Friday, state officials said. Lines at some stations stretched miles. In the Doral area west of Miami, waitresses from an International House of Pancakes hit the streets and took breakfast orders from harried drivers idling in a line stretching from a Mobil station. Some South Floridians acknowledged that they hadn't prepared for Wilma's arrival Monday. Regret was the order of the day. 'Everything is my mistake," James CHILD CARE Continued from Al to storms. The key is electricity, Dozier said Schools that had power and didn't sustain damage from Hurricane Wilma sat vacant during the past week. Dozier says those facilities could have operated child care programs or hosted other educational activities. Lee County public schools closed Friday, Oct 21, as Hurricane Wilma approached. The storm didn't hit until Monday morning, but schools were shut all week as workers repaired damage and waited for crews to restore electricity. In the meantime, parents such as Sandy Banks have faced tough decisions about what to do with her two children during work hours. She has brought her 9-year-old son to the office, which isn't fun for him as he sits idle all day. She gives a thumbs-up to the idea of child care for families with few options. "It would be beneficial to a lot of people," Banks said Friday. Beth Goerke has a little job flexibility because she's self-employed But once her power was restored Thursday, she had to make up for lost time, and asked a friend to watch her two sons. The boys didn't seem to mind and Goerke said the lack of power may not have been a bad thing. "It's like the old-fashioned days where they can't watch TV or play their GameCubes," she said "We sat around the fireplace, roasted marsh-mallows and told stories." i ;t r - IN OTHER DEVELOPMENTS Operations ran more smoothly at 17 water and ice distribution sites for Broward residents and eight for Miami-Dade residents. People waited less than - j-five minutes outside the Hollywood Dog Track in Hal-landale Beach for water and food provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency but there was no ice. They'd run out At Miami's Orange Bowl, where thousands had lined up Thursday, so few people turned up Friday that workers shouted, "Waterl Water!" to attract attention and takers. Phone service remained troubled for many, with BellSouth reporting 817,000 lines still impaired throughout its service area. Service to 112,000 customers had been re-established. Motorists faced turmoil on the streets. In Broward, only 78 of the county's 1,350 traffic lights were working by Friday evening. In Miami-Dade, 1,002 of the county's 2,600 traffic lights were work-ingbymidday. Brown of Fort Lauderdale said as he held empty gasoline containers at the end of a long line in the nearby city of Plantation. "I should have done everything on Sunday. I should have gotten gas, (barbecue) coal, lights, a flashlight I can only blame myself" Miami-Dade officials said all roads had been cleared of debris. "It's a monumental task," Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez said. "But things are returning to normal." Things were more difficult in Broward, RECOVERY or t. m, . t Continued from Al said "I really don't get it The thing people need right now is a television and maybe air conditioning. We're a piece of normalcy for them" Lee County commissioners Friday lifted the curfew in unincorporated areas of Lee County, ending a four-night shuttering of businesses and hibernatbg of residents. Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said the curfew had been in place long enough. Most traffic signals in the sheriff's jurisdiction were working Friday. "I don't see it as a necessity right now," Scott said Collier County's curfew also was lifted Friday. Curfews in Cape Coral and Sanibel were removed Tuesday, and Fort Myers Beach followed suit Thursday. In other Wilma aftermath developments: POWER COMING BACK Power companies continued to make progress on outages throughout Southwest Florida. Florida Power & Light officials said 77 percent of the 194,000 customers in Lee County who lost power had 7""""' -f- f-'".'' ill w 0- ; T.vl M - y 1 fir! I ' . ' THE ASSOCIATED PRESS , . Curfews remained in effect in both counties, though enforcement is selective and flexible. In Miami-Dade, the curfew begins at midnight and ends at 6 a.m.; in Broward, the curfew still runs from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sewage treatment and removal remained a problem, especially in the Broward County cities of Plantation and North Lauderdale. No power at lift stations meant it was difficult to move sewage from homes to water treatment plants, and raw sewage bubbled up through storm drains and manhole covers. FEMA distributed 27 generators to help power lift stations throughout the county. Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon and other tourist areas in the Upper and Middle Keys reopened to visitors. Key West and the rest of the Lower Keys will reopen to tourists Monday, officials said. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Beta approached hurricane strength as it neared Nicaragua and Honduras. to the north. A helicopter survey by the insurance industry found that Wilma inflicted its worst damage in the west Broward communities of Margate, Coconut Creek, North Lauderdale, Sunrise, Plantation and Davie. At least 70 percent of the homes and businesses in those cities sustained some damage, according to the Insurance Disaster Assessment Team. Damage was less in Miami-Dade, with western portions of the county faring worse than eastern. their electricity back Friday. The latest customers should be without power in Lee and Collier counties, officials said is Nov. 8 for those west and south of Interstate 75 and Nov. 10 for those east of the interstate. Only isolated pockets of Lee County Electric Cooperative customers in Lee and Collier counties were still without power, spokesman Karen Ryan said HOME DAMAGE Hurricane Wilma caused more than $108 million damage to homes in Lee County, but most of that was manufactured housing, estimates released Friday show. Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson said the early damage estimates were based on a computer program and a field survey of the county. The figures will be turned over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. According to the appraiser, the damage to single-family homes was mostly screened enclosures. "We had more than 36,000 properties that we reduced the value on after Charley," Wilkinson said "This will be miniscule in comparisoa" DISTRIBUTION SITES END Lee County emergency officials Friday said they closed the remain- Report says FPL left utility poles, vulnerable The Associated Press f MIAMI A report by regula- tors issued in July said Florida Power & Light was not doing enough to inspect utility poles, possibly allowing unstable and r rotting poles to slip through the cracks. Many of the utility's 1 million wood poles snapped during ( , Wilma's high winds. More than a , . third of the its customers, about , v 1.7 million, still were without power Friday, four days after the ;t storm hit , The report by the state Public Service Commission said the utility may not be conducting enough targeted pole inspections . which include checking the poles for internal decay and inspecting support structures below ground leveL FPL uses several methods to inspect poles. Besides the formal, targeted inspections conducted by contractors, workers visually inspect poles as part of their day-to-day work, and engineers use thermal equipment to check ; poles and lines. The report said targeted pole A inspections were more thorough , and far more likely to catch prob- lems. For example, visual inspec- , tions found problems with four , in every 1,000 poles that were inspected. Targeted inspections found problems with 17 in every 1,000, four times as many, the report said. But targeted inspections were conducted on only a small number of the utility's wooden poles, and from 1999 to 2004, those inspections were conducted in only three areas of Florida: north Florida, West Palm Beach and Boca Ratoa That left out areas including Miami-Dade and Broward counties where millions of people lost power after V Wilma. The report said that at the cur- rent rate, it would take 60 years for all the utility's wooden poles to undergo a targeted inspection. , . MaycoVillafana, a spokesman for the utility, said it was a mistake to focus too much on the targeted inspection program because it just one part of a multi-pronged approach to inspections. "Every time FPUs crews work on a project they inspect poles," he said. "When we do that we're looking at the condition of the nuts and bolts, the wires and the circuits." Targeted inspections were focused in North Florida, West ( Palm Beach and Boca Raton . .( because the poles are older, the v company said. r Villafana said it still was , ( unclear why so many poles had failed during the storm, and said 1 the fact that many poles had snapped indicated they were cut down by winds, rather than by deterioratioa Wind speeds during Wilma reached more than 100 mph, and the wooden poles are designed to withstand winds of at least 119 mph. ing distribution points for water, food and ice since power has been restored to most grocery and convenience stores.' The remaining locations at the Lee Civic Center and Lehigh Acres "M Christian Church closed at 5 pm Equipment rented to set up the facilities is being returned and offi-cials sent much of the leftover supplies to Hendry County to aid recovery efforts there. Meanwhile, the Lee County Chapter of the American Red Cross ' will soon begin outreach services, allowing those in need to get help where they live, said Executive Director Heidi Ruster. DEATH TOLL RISES The number of deaths in Collier County linked to the storm has increased to eight And while no one has died of Wilma-related injuries in Lee County, Estero resident Bill Wilson, 68, was in critical but stable condition Friday at Lee Memorial Hospital, a nursing supervisor said His carport fell on him at Tahiti Mobile Village during the storm and he : suffered several broken bones. Staff writers Denes Husty III, Mark Krzos, Don Ruane and Brian P. Watson contributed to this report T

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