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Saved from storm, lost to the cleanup

Published Oct. 12, 2005

As the storm cleanup began, mundane chores developed a sad twist for some victims.

Late Saturday afternoon, Al Fryett stood at the edge of The Indian Rocks Mobile Home Park in Largo, looking at a street where bulldozers had cleared a path. He was in tears, and a friend was patting his shoulder, trying to comfort him.

Fryett had moved to St. Petersburg recently to take care of his widowed mother. He said the contents of his mother's home and many of his own belongings had been in the street when the bulldozer came through.

"While I was gone, they bulldozed everything," he said. "Everything that was there is gone." He said he had stored his coin collection, artwork and glassware in his mother's home. "I had about 250 pieces of ornate glass."

Sunday he was lifting pieces of the mobile home, which had been thrown across a street, and helping his mother, Pauline Fryett, salvage what they could.

"Oh God, after 47 years, you name it. Forty-seven years, and it was in that trailer," she said. "My husband passed away in February. This is what I've got left after 47 years of marriage," she said, looking at a paltry collection of belongings in front of her.

All schools in session

All Pinellas County schools will be open today. Air conditioning and electricity has been restored at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle and Pinellas Park High but cold lunches will be served. All students are encouraged to ride school buses. Students who must walk or drive to these two schools are encouraged to stay on the main roads and enter the schools only from 66th Street. Students living in temporary housing may attend a school in the temporary zone or call Information Services at 588-6297 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m..

Insurance center opens

The state insurance commissioner's office will open a center at 10555 66th St. N in Pinellas Park today to help tornado victims with insurance questions. The Insurance Consumer Service van will be staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and "will stay until we feel people don't need it any longer," said Jill Chamberlin, spokeswoman for Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher. "We'll do an analysis of which insurance companies are liable and hold the risk in that tornado area so we can contact them directly and make sure they've got adjusters down there."

Consumers also can call the commissioner's service offices in Tampa, 272-2330, and St. Petersburg, 893-2351, or call toll-free 1-800-342-2762.

Most power restored

Immediately after the tornadoes hit, about 30,000 people were without power, according to Florida Power spokesman Will Rodgers, but that number had been reduced to 2,300 late Sunday.

Missile found in debris

As the Raymond family sorted through the rubble that covered their property Sunday, they kept stepping on something that looked like an old sprinkler head. What with no roof on their Pinellas Park house, a sprinkler head was the least of their concerns. Then Charles Raymond took a closer look. The foot-long olive-green cylinder read "rocket." Pinellas Park police gathered in his yard at 11357 Elmhurst Drive and studied the item. It was taken away in a food cooler. It turned out that the missile was unarmed, said Pinellas Park police Officer Dorene Thomas. No one knew where it came from.