The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on September 17, 2004 · 10
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 10

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, September 17, 2004
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Cancel THE TAMPA TRIBUNE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2004 NATIONWORLD H HURRICANE IVAN iscambia Bay Bridge Collapses, Will Take Weeks To Repair fz ii - -" ' tfc . -,f;; y r- - ft 1- ... -- jprr - i - -- - -' rif cs?--: - 1.- "- " ,f a - dangles off a A tractor-trailer TORNADO KILLS 4 IN RURAL COMMUNITY By GARRETT THEROLF and MICHELE SAGER The Tampa Tribune BLOUNTSTOWN Though the strength of Hurricane Ivan was felt across four Southern states, this small Calhoun County community on Thursday counted the highest number of fatalities. Four people died Wednes-day night as tornadoes spawned by Ivan tore a 200-yard swath across the rural landscape of dairies, cotton and corn farms north of the Calhoun County seat, home to 2,400 people. At least three residents suffered major injuries when the hurricane lifted their mobile home, tossing the structure about 100 yards. The devastation occurred suddenly along Alternate County Road 69, where about six homes were destroyed. Melvin Terry, in his 50s, and his daughter, Donna, in her 30s, were killed as they took shelter with three other family members in a mobile home that would separate from its base and fragment over a residence that also was destroyed. Nikki Dawsey, Terry's niece who lives about three-quarters of a mile from the homes where people died, said her aunt Mary Frances was critically injured and two cousins suffered broken bones. James and Mary Marshall were preparing for a night shift at the Calhoun Correction Institution when the tornado hit, destroying their mobile home and tossing its contents across the road into tree branches. Neighbors tried to help neighbors in the worst of the onslaught Wednesday night. "One of our neighbors called us and told us they were penned in," said Sharlyn Smith, whose husband, William "Buddy" Smith, headed out to help. He discovered downed power lines in their pasture but found a hole where a' fence went down. He climbed across. "The cattle got out. Lines were all in our pasture and debris, and we n Voitex Of Vso Mark Sigler, who filled sandbags with daughter Jenifer ahead of the storm, says he hopes the architectural style takes off. washed - out eastbound section of couldn't get to them," Sharlyn Smith said. "Our first neighbor and husband managed to get out the windows." The tornado sent boats, trailers and furniture flying but turned selective at the Marshall' house. Their mobile home "was gone, but the three cars were there," Sharlyn Smith said. "The trailer was just like somebody had stolen it." By morning, those who survived sifted through belongings and suffered guilt. "I live just up the road," Dawsey said. "I told them, 'If it gets bad, come here.' I never heard from them. I should have come. I should have stopped by. I should have come." Mary Marshall's .two sons, 16-year-old Jay and 19-year-old Devon Rabon, picked through the remains of their mother's home, occasionally finding photos or old trophies. "My mother had been married four times, this time the happiest," Devon said. "This is the hardest thing I've ever done." The four deaths were among 14 attributed to Ivan in Florida. In Bay County, two deaths were blamed on tornadoes. John Martin was checking on his daughter's business, Marti Martin's real estate in Panama City, when the tornado touched down. The roof was ripped off the building, windows were blown out, and debris was tossed everywhere. Police said Martin, in his mid-80s, died from traumatic injuries most likely caused from flying debris. In eastern Bay County, Nancy King, 77, was in her house with six other people when a tornado ripped it apart, most likely killing her with flying debris, authorities said. In Santa Rosa County, Emergency Director Dave Ling said an 8-year-old girl was killed Thursday in Milton when a tree fell on a house. The name of the girl had not been released. Information from Wie Associated Press was used in this report. Reporter Garrett Therolfcan be reached at (850) 222-8382. 1 he Associated Press Tribune photo by MICHAEL SPOONEYBARGER the 1-10 bridge. Westbound lanes also suffered structural damage. esicer Live i V "This is the hardest thing I've ever done," Devon Rabon said. His i . 5 ! , I --t.- -, Robert Hartzell leaves his damaged home Thursday near Blountstown. He lay on top of his grandson during the storm, and his wife was in a closet. Dome Home Suffers Little Damage In First Test 850-TON STRUCTURE ' CONCEIVED AFTER OPAL, The Associated Press PENSACOLA BEACH Mark Sigler was probably one of the few people who could sleep soundly with Hurricane Ivan's battering waves, 130 mph winds and flying debris slamming into his house. Ivan was the first test for his Dome of a Home on the Gulf of Mexico, a veritable fortress built to withstand winds up to 200 mph. f! "I was afraid at first when the storm started whether it was going to work or not," he said. His fear didn't last long. The house is made of a single slab of steel-reinforced concrete " shaped like a dome and is covered by waterproof foam. It weighs about 850 tons, compared with about 25 tons for a normal house, Sigler said. "You have a one-piece concrete house with five miles of steel in it," he said. "The house did exactly what it's supposed to do." The Gulf's water washed 1-10, MAJOR EAST-WEST CORRIDOR, DETOURED A Tribune staff, wire report Hurricane Ivan left a section of Interstate 10 a swayed and twisted mess over Escambia Bay, as if a giant had picked up , the highway and snapped it, leaving sections askew and a long stretch with no roadbed. A quarter-mile section of the eastbound 1-10 bridge, called the Escambia Bay Bridge, collapsed into the water Thursday. A tractor-trailer hung over the edge, its cab pointed into the bay. The driver had not been found or identified, authorities said. The bridge joins Escambia and Santa Rosa counties across Escambia Bay. The bridge is vital as an east-west corridor connecting the Gulf Coast. About 25,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. omes Shaft f red 1 J ir-rv mother and stepfather, Mary and 1 . ?- -f -- 5.1 Santana Sullivan and her fiance, Chris Ammons, .. who are to be married in two weeks, heeded warn- "' ings and evacuated their home. It was destroyed. ' neighboring houses out to sea but caused little damage to his. "We could hear pieces of the other houses breaking up and smashing iato the house," he said. He spent years planning to construct what he calls a hurricane-proof building after seeing his previous house severely damaged by Hurricane Opal in 1995. He found that the dome shape was stronger architecturally and got a federal grant to help with construction, which was finished 14 months ago. The house looks like the A detour around the bridge; i that takes motorists north of ' the bay before dropping back into Pensacola has been established. Ttip email Inral rnarlc werd . . Ilk. 111111.11 1UVU1 1 U 11 V. J L 1 V. never intended to accommo- uaie me level oi irainc i-iu nor mally nanaies. t l ff::-.i :a i luliu uiiiLiiiis scuu uiey weie waiting on the federal Department of Transportation to assess damage to the bridge before they determined how or whether they could make it; passable again. They said there also was some structural damage to the westbound lanes of the bridge. Gov. Jeb Bush said the Es- , cambia Bay Bridge would take weeks or longer to repair. , , A storm surge from Ivan alsq destroyed parts of U.S. 98, bu , Bush said the coastal highway , could reopen this weekend. Several bridges and roads , were closed in the Panhandle - I ribune photos by COLIN l lACKLEY James Marshall, were killed. 1 . ,-1 ? .. . cross section of an egg. Two uiea.dway staircases leu up iu the entrances, but they ripped away as they were designed ' when Ivan's force became too ; strong. An NBC television news crew rode out Ivan in the house' -with Sigler to beam live feeds for broadcast. Sigler hoped the " national attention would pro mote his building style, but the excitement wasn't enough to keep him awake. ' "I went to sleep about 11, . uiiu i jtvJi v wr Lip, l IV. ociiu CI I dawn. W.-r,-!l-3ii. .JTj-V

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