FL tornado hits mobile homes

Volusia County residents are once again cleaning up after a natural disaster.

BY MONICA OLIVAS | PORT ORANGE, FL | July 28, 2009


Residents are picking through the mess while disaster response workers are assessing damage from a tornado that hit this eastern Florida community Friday evening.

The tornado touched down in three mobile home communities and at least 154 homes are reported to have sustained damage, but Port Orange Fire and Rescue officials expect that number to climb as the area is canvassed.

As many as 65 homes have major damage and are unfit for habitation right now. Those displaced residents are staying with family, friends and neighbors. Four or five of those are completely destroyed the official number is still unknown.

Port Orange Council members have declared a state of emergency for the area, although Tanya Dilardi, Fire and Rescue PIO for Port Orange, said she does not expect a state or federal emergency declaration.

Early estimates of the cost of damage are about $2.6 million.

Port Orange is just south of Daytona Beach, in Volusia County. The county has faced much weather related damage in the last five years including seven Presidential declarations in that time.

Laurie Hardin, Volunteer Coordinator/Case Manager for Volusia Interfaith/Agency Networking in Disaster (VIND), says a lot of the initial clean-up of aluminum and debris has been done. Damaged roofs have been tarped by the Fire Department and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

But, there is a big need for volunteers in the long term. This area is still recovering from three hurricanes that devastated homes in 2004.

“The immediate volunteer opportunity is one thing, but long term is completely different,” Hardin says.

Many homeowners just patched their roofs after hurricanes Charlie, Gene and Francis came through. Now all those homes need long-term solutions to the damage.


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