The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on February 25, 1998 · 19
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 19

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 25, 1998
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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1998 0 THE TAMPA TRIBUNE O FLORIDAMETRO - 7 I 14 1.1 V II 1)1 M Wi II H III W ill I l W 1:1 W IS uT 1 Classmates try to cope without Sarah, Travis SANFORD - Classmates of two children killed by a tornado learn a lesson of grieving. Counselors help them deal with their loss. By PETER E. HOWARD of The Tampa Tribune Principal Sharon Tanner closes her eyes and sees a precocious Travis Malloy and the devilish smile that used to form on his lips. She can hear the boy's sweet voice as she recalls the third-grader visiting her office to read her stories at Midway Elementary School. ' She can also see Travis' sister, Sarah, a gifted fifth-grader, "a bright, young lady" who was filled with promise and hope. On Tuesday those recollections were just fleeting moments in a day filled with sorrow, a day of grieving and concern for a group of children who are learning to cope with the deaths of two of their classmates, Sarah and Travis. Sarah, 11, and Travis, 9, died, along with their father, Steve Malloy, when a horrific tornado barreled through their mobile home next to the Sanford Airport in the early hours Monday. "This school community is very, very close," Tanner explained Tuesday. "When one of us hurts, we all feel the pain. We are all grieving right now." More than 25 therapists and crisis counselors came to the school Tuesday morning to offer help and talk to the school's 400 students about the tornado that killed at least 11 people in this rural city 25 miles northeast of Orlando. In addition to the Malloys, the mother of fourth-grader Uriah Blackstone died in the storm. The homes of nearly two dozen other children were damaged. 54The counselors met first with the classmates of Sarah and Travis. The children were sad. And angry. Some didn't believe. The students took out their journals to write memorials and notes to the dead youngsters. "It was almost more than I could bear," said Tanner. "The : little ones grieve so openly, and 1 the teacher grieved openly with them, which I think helped." The Malloys had been attending Midway Elementary since they were pre-schoolers. Aside from their classmates, many of the teachers had a history with both of the kids as they grew up in the community. ' Sarah was the quiet one, Tanner recalled. She was self-motivated and Worked hard to achieve. Her brother was the outgoing one who sought leading roles in school plays. Tornado survivors won't KISSIMMEE - They won't soon forget the sight, sound, fury and even smell of the tornado that ripped through their community. By DAVID PEDREIRA of The Tampa Tribune They say it looked like a black hole in the sky, made even darker by the columns of lightning behind it. It sounded like a train or a crashing jet, or a thousand tea kettles whistling at once. To one person, it was as wide as a football field. To another, it loomed a half-mile across. It smelled like burned gunpowder and left a trail of cold wind behind it. One thing is certain: The tornado that spun through this community in the dark of Monday embedded itself in people's minds as forcefully as it flung cars and speared two-by-fours into walls of stucco. "I don't want the night to come, because I'm scared now of the dark," said Elizabeth Plattner, 40, as she poked around her tea-colored swimming pool in a vain effort to find her television. "Now I'm even afraid of this little breeze." As people continued to sift through a sea of wreckage in Kis-.immee Tuesday, they pledged re Tanner had only fond thoughts about the children's father, Steve Malloy, a divorced parent who had custody of his children. "He was always asking for our advice," Tanner said. "He would say, 'What can I do to make sure my kids grow up and have more than I have?' "We would tell him to just keep doing what he was doing. He was a very devoted father." Peter E. Howard covers Tampa city government He can be reached at (813) 259-7651. Not going anywhere A demolished automobile rests in the Buenaventura Lakes subdivision at sunset Monday near Kissimmee. The ' " ' Foundation offers help to elderly A Tribune staff report TALLAHASSEE - The Elder Floridi-ans Foundation raised $103,000 to help elderly citizens get back on -their feet after Hurricane Andrew. But the foundation didn't spend all bf its relief funds after the 1992 disaster. Ijlow, the foundation is offering the unspent $44,000 to elderly victims of this week's tornadoes. siliency and unity. They said they felt lucky. But even as they moved forward, they couldn't stop thinking back. Tornado stories were quietly traded all day long in Lakeside Estates, a subdivision where more than 100 homes were demolished, yet only one person died. The twister followed a thunderstorm into the neighborhood about 1 a.m. The lights began to blink before the noise started, said & I don't want the night to come, because Fm scared now of the dark. Elizabeth Plattner 32-year-old David Rios. He thought a jumbo jet was trying to land in the back yard. A second later, the windows exploded. The tornado peeled off the top of the house like the lid on a can of tennis balls. Rios went to look for his children, but it was dark. Rain and bits of insulation blinded him. "I was cold, I was standing in my underwear," said Rios, whose wife Storm paths The damage done Sunday night in Florida by tornadoes can be attributed to three super cell thunderstorms. Here are their tracks: irfiBwpi Starts over Citrus County with reports of hail near Homosassa at 9:1 8 p.m. It produces a small tornado in Sumter County, continues northeast to near Wildwood, and proceeds to Daytona Beach, arriving about 11:05 p.m. M.iJ fvillllil iiiil y : l jj. Starts over southern Lake County near Bay Lake about 11:30 p.m. Winter Garden, Ocoee and Apopka are in its path, then Longwood and Sanford. It ends at tdgewater in Volusia County about 12:50 a.m. Source: National Weather Service, Melbourne It's an offer that could help many senior citizens. It also may take the heat off the foundation, which lawmakers have criticized recently for transferring leftover disaster money to a general fund rather than using it all to help disaster victims. The foundation money is earmarked for people 60 or older who have been hit hard by natural di ever forget and kids survived. "I looked up and everything was gone." The homeless tried to keep themselves busy under a warm sun, hauling out broken dishwashers and spray-painting the names of their insurance companies on any wall left standing. But it felt worse than the day before, many of them said. Tuesday, they began to feel pain, and they continued to remember. Rios' son couldn't sleep. Platt-ner's 15-year-old daughter couldn't eat. Even the brash were shaken. A World War II veteran remembered seeing the twister in the sky to the west, a colorless vortex that didn't seem to have borders. "I'm a brave man, but I'll tell you what, that was too much for me," said the man, who I wouldn't identify himself. As for Rios, he had plans to rebuild. His family was safe. They were insured by a good company. There was a lot to be grateful for. If only he could get Monday morning out of his mind. "I know it's never going to be the same," said Rios, pointing to his head. "I still have it here, and it will never go away." David Pedreira covers local government He can be reached at 613-259-7679. ! y " Sanford I Longwood 1A I Apopka - ucoeeJ5j V Winter - Garden " ni i 'Garden . UlldllUU x h i it , jV7 .TV. - savLaKe .is- v t-u 1 u automobile was wrecked when it was hit by one of the tornadoes that destroyed hundreds of homes. saster and need assistance but don't qualify for help from government agencies, said Dave Bruns, a spokesman for the state Department of Elder Affairs. i In the wake of Andrew, foundation money helped a woman who used her savings to rebuild her home but nearly lost the home because she couldn't pay her property taxes; a lady who cared for the P 0 U 9 O Water for survivors Inmates at the Seminole County Jail in Sanford are busy loading bottles of water Into the back of a pickup truck Tuesday. The water will be given to survivors of t Monday's tornadoes. Daytona Beach Atlantic Ocean Starts in northeastern Polk County about 12:20 a.m. and travels into Osceola County, where it affects Intercession City and Kissimmee. It proceeds to Port Canaveral in Brevard County by about 1 :50 a.m. i - - Tribune graphic AP photo victims cats and dogs of elderly neighbors whose homes were destroyed; and people whose dentures had vanished in the destruction. Bruns said the money has been available after other disasters since 1992, but no one asked for it. Senior citizens who want more information about assistance may call 1-800-96-ELDER (963-5337). up AP photo -i i .in , if Nationwide May 27, 1896: At least 300 killed in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois. May 18, 1902: 114 killed in Goliad, Texas. March 18, 1925: 695 killed and 2,000 injured in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana in the fastest and deadliest tornado on record, according to the National Weather Service. March 21, 1932: 268 killed in a series of tornadoes in Alabama. Aprils, 1936: 455 killed in Mississippi and Georgia. April 6, 1936: 203 killed in Gainesville, Ga. June 23, 1944: 150 killed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. April 9, 1947: 169 killed in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. March 21, 1952: 208 killed in a series of tornadoes in Arkansas, Missouri and Texas. May 11, 1953: 114 killed and 597 injured in Texas. June 8, 1953: 142 killed in Michigan and Ohio. May 25, 1955: 115 killed in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. April 11, 1965: 271 killed in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. Feb. 21, 1971: 110 killed throughout Mississippi Delta region. April 3-4, 1974: 350 killed in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. Source: Associated Press SURVIVAL 'Noise and noise and more noise y From Page 1 tornado had come and gone. Then the TV flicked off, the lights went out and the Longos heard something hit the window. As the retired trucker sat up to put his pants on, the window shattered and the walls came tumbling down. "All I could hear was noise and noise and more noise," he said. "Everything was smashing apart." The bed turned upside down with Jean Longo in it. "I kept telling her, 'Don't worry, I'll get out and do something,' " 1 Tony Longo said. He freed himself and followed her voice. A heavy beam had landed on the overturned mattress. He feared he would upset it and crush her. Then flashlights and mercy emerged from the darkness. The Longos, who retired to Florida from Connecticut, had been through hurricanes before. "I'd rather go through a hurricane any day," Tony Longo said. "You get a chance in a hurricane. The wind blows one way." They will be shopping for another home soon, he said. It just won't be a mobile home. Patty Ryan works in Tampa. She can be reached at (813) 259-7605. Statewide Dead: 39 Injured: about 260 Federal disaster areas: Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties Orange Dead: 3 Injured: 74 Structures destroyed: 111 Structures with major damage: 85 Osceola County Dead: 24 Injured: 150 Structures destroyed: 119 Structures with major damage: 110 Seminole County Dead: 11 Injured: 28 Structures destroyed: 45 Structures with major damage: 275 Volusia County Dead: 1 Injured: 8 Structures destroyed: 35 Structures with major damage: 140 Source: Associated Press : i i.o fciifc,i..i.;,a,;iiiii;ijfci

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