The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on September 17, 2004 · A19
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · A19

Orlando, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, September 17, 2004
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Orlando Sentinel: PRODUCT: OS DESK: ASEC DATE: 09-17-2004 EDITION: MET ZONE: MET PAGE: A19.0 DEADLINE: 20.6 OP: dbreen COMPOSETIME: 00.56 CMYK Orlando Sentinel HURRICANE IVAN L FINAL FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2004 A1 9 EMILY BARNESFLORIDA TODAY In Blountstown on Thursday, Nikki Dawsey picks through the wreckage of her aunt and uncle's mobile home, which was destroyed by a tornado Wednesday. She salvaged a rain-soaked portrait of 2 of her cousins. 4 killed while riding out storm in 2 mobile homes TORNADO FROM A 1 snapped dozens of 20-inch-diameter pine trees along County Road 69 and flooded and damaged numerous homes. The two families had been neighbors for nearly a decade. Nikki Dawsey picked through the wreckage of the Terrys' home Thursday, pulling out a rain-soaked portrait of her cousins. "They were both good people," said Dawsey, who lives less than a mile away. Two other cousins suffered broken bones when the tornado hit the Terry home. "Melvin was easygoing , very Southern a kind, simple guy," recalled Roy Pickens, a nearby neighbor and the longtime owner of the Quick Pic convenience store who knew Terry for 30 years. 'The trailer was just like somebody had stolen it.' SHARLYN SMITH AFTER A TORNADO DESTROYED A MOBILE HOME Bontrager said he knew all four of the victims because he sold them chunks of his former farm for mobile-home sites. The Marshalls were both "hardworking" and good neighbors, just like the Terrys, he said. "I'm like a zombie," he added. "I didn't sleep at all last night." James and Mary Marshall were 90 minutes from starting their overnight shifts at the Calhoun Correctional Institution when they were killed. James Marshall supervised prison officers in the low-security work camp adjoining the main prison. His wife was in charge of officers at the prison. Both were due at work at 1 1 p.m. Wednesday. Around 9:30 p.m., the tornado demolished their mobile home, about 160 miles from Ivan's landfall in Gulf Shores, Ala. Sharlyn Smith said the Marshalls' mobile home "was gone, but the three cars were there. The trailer was just like somebody had stolen it." Jeff Johnson, 38, who lives across the road, said he was watching storm coverage on television when he saw a tornado warning for neighboring Liberty County. "Then the power went off," he said. "All of sudden, it got super loud. I remember my ears popped, and we all ran down the hall to the bathroom." He huddled with his 4-year-old daughter, Bailey, his 9-year-old son, Casey, and father-in-law, R.L. Al-ford, in Alford's frame house because it was sturdier than Johnson's mobile home. "It just looks like a bomb went off," Johnson said. "It's incredible. We don't have a scratch, thank God. I don't know how." Johnson's mobile home was battered by the twister but left standing. In the past three weeks, Johnson had already witnessed the damage hurricanes wrought. He traveled to Punta Gorda and then Orlando to help victims of Charley and Frances. "It was Punta Gorda and Orlando, and now it's us that needs help," said his wife, Juanice. Information from wire services was used in this report. Bob Mahlburg can be reached at or 850-222-5564. As Ivan heads north, president declares 4 states disaster areas IVAN FROM A 1 markers in the city's renovated St. Joseph's Cemetery and ripped the siding off ornate homes in Arcadia, its new downtown neighborhood. A few miles away, Joel and Meri Asmar's neighborhood in Bayou Chico lost several homes. "There are three or four houses by ours that are totally gone," Meri Asmar said. "I mean, all their furniture is laying there, blocks away." Escambia County Sheriff Ron McNesby said he toured the barrier islands by helicopter Thursday and saw widespread destruction, including homes on Perdido Key washed away by what he presumed were large waves. He said damage on the barrier islands was three times worse than that from Hurricane Opal. Bridges leading to Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach won't be opened until engineers determine they are safe, McNesby said. He said he didn't think there would be "large numbers" of deaths on the islands. McNesby said long sections of coastal U.S. Highway 98 are buried in sand. At Mr. Manatee's, a restaurant on Palafox Street in a building erected in 1 886, owner David Knudsen found his business filled with mud and seawater, its windows and skylights shattered and dripping. On the restaurant's rear deck, large boats and yachts from the neighboring marina had been blown loose and were piled up in a hodgepodge that reeked of diesel fuel. Knudsen said he spent IV2 years and more than $400,000 renovating the restaurant he has owned for 10 years. But his first thoughts weren't about his losses. "I've got more than 50 employees who work for me here," Knudsen said. "What are they going to do? How are they going to support themselves?" Outside Don Frenkel's Victorian home in Pensa-cola's East Hill neighborhood, trees lay in the streets, joined by a neighbor's 30-foot boat that washed out of a nearby bayou. A refrigerator drawer rested on a sidewalk. "It was harrowing, and it was eerie because the house was literally whistling all night," Frenkel said. "I've sat through other hurricanes, but I'll never sit through another one like this." National Hurricane Center forecasters said Ivan made landfall at 3 a.m. EDT at Gulf Shores, Ala., about 40 miles west of Pensacola. The storm came ashore as a strong Category 3 hurricane with winds of 130 mph, generating a massive surge of 10 to 1 6 feet, topped by battering waves. Officials in Pensacola said nearly all residents were left without power, water and telephone service after Ivan gave the city an all-night beating. All of the city's major hospitals suffered damage to windows and roofs. Baptist Hospital temporarily shut down its emergency room during the storm af- &i5.-s-" BARBARA DAVIDSONTHE DALLAS MORNING NEWS Outside Mobile, Ala., a sign directing drivers to Interstate 10 sits in floodwater from the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ivan hit Thursday. Winds of 130 mph generated a storm surge of 10 to 16 feet, topped by waves. ter it lost part of its roof. The Pensacola Civic Center, which served as a shelter for nearly 1,500 residents, and other downtown buildings were missing walls, windows and portions of their roofs. Some older structures, including "shotgun" row houses near downtown were reduced to piles of brick and timber scrap. Outside the city, the Interstate 10 bridge over Escambia Bay suffered enough damage that officials said it might be a total loss which could take months to repair. Other major roads into Escambia County, U.S. 90 and U.S. 98, also were closed because of damage. Gov. Bush deployed about 2,000 National Guard troops while search-and-rescue teams began looking for any dead or injured, a task complicated by downed power lines, trees and other debris blocking many roads. Officials imposed curfews in several counties. One person was arrested on suspicion of looting. More than 1.5 million homes and businesses or nearly 3 million people lost power, including at least 975,000 customers in Alabama, 50,000 in Louisiana, 145,000 in Mississippi and 345,000 in the Florida Panhandle. By Thursday night, authorities were still trying to place rescue personnel on barrier islands to look for people who did not evacuate. Some officials said the barrier islands looked like a scene of "mass destruction" and in some cases, homes were flattened to the concrete slab. Seven people were reported killed in Escambia County, which includes Pensacola, and rescue workers were still looking for other possible victims, sheriffs Sgt. Rick Vinson said. Vinson said four of the deaths were from natural causes attributed to storm-related factors. Drowning is suspected in two deaths in southwest Escambia neighborhoods near Pensacola Naval Air Station. Four people were killed Wednesday night when a tornado ripped through Blountstown, a small community about 40 miles northeast of Panama City. An 8-year-old girl was killed early Thursday in Milton, about 20 miles northeast of Pensacola, when a tree crashed into her family's mobile home. On Wednesday, two people were killed in the Panama City area when at least nine tornadoes tore through the region, damaging 200 homes. Guy Tunnell, executive director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and a former sheriff in Bay County in the Panhandle, said he had not received confirmation of any more than the deaths related to 20 reported tornadoes in Florida. "But we've heard there are additional deaths," Tunnell said, adding they are likely on the barrier islands near Pensacola. "People chose to stay for whatever reason. They're mostly high-end homes and condos. But I think we're going to be shocked when we get out there." Two more people were killed in Mississippi and one in Georgia. In Louisiana, four evacuees died after being taken from their storm-threatened homes to safer parts of the state. The storm likely will be the most destructive hurricane to strike the Panhandle since Hurricane Opal in October 1995 a storm that killed 59 people in the United States, Mexico and Guatemala and caused, in today's dollars, about $3.7 billion in damage in the United States. Ivan had already killed at least 68 people as it passed through the Caribbean. Gov. Bush had planned to tour the devastation by helicopter Thursday but was kept grounded by blustery winds left over from Ivan. "It's really having a hard time letting go of Florida right now," said state meteorologist Ben Nelson. Elsewhere in the Panhandle, about 16 homes were destroyed in the coastal community of Cape San Bias, 35 miles southeast of Panama City, including four that were swept into the ocean as waves up to 25 feet eroded the sand beneath their foundations. Roads were underwater in several parts of Walton and Gulf counties, and access to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was cut off. Ivan's final track northward may help determine whether Florida gets belted by a fourth storm: Tropical Storm Jeanne, now surging in the Caribbean. Stacy Stewart, a forecaster with the National Hurricane Center, west of Miami, said a ridge of high pressure will cause Ivan to stall, then drift, during the next few days. Ivan's remnants could weaken the ridge, he said, which would be good news for Florida because then Jeanne could take a more northerly track away from the Sunshine State. "Right now, we have models saying it's going to go north, or west into the Florida Peninsula," Stewart said. "So we have to wait and see." John Kennedy and Maya Bell of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Wire services also were used. Wes Smith can be reached at, and Roger Roy can be reached at COLORSTRIP: I

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