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30 people injured by tornado

Published Oct. 2, 2005

A tornado skipped across four parts of this Atlantic Coast community early Sunday, tearing second stories off homes and the roofs off businesses while injuring 30.

No one was killed, police said.

"The Fire Department went door to door looking for people," said police spokesman Mike Brouillette. "There's numerous houses that have the roofs gone, and some two-story buildings have their whole second story just leveled."

Police reported 30 people had minor injuries, and nine were admitted to the Bert Fish Medical Center for treatment. The worst injuries were a broken hip and chest pains, said nursing supervisor Yvonne Grudzine-Glazer.

A 64-unit condominium complex was devastated by the storm about 1:30 a.m., and about 100 residents of DiamondHead Point took refuge in their clubhouse. The residents at the complex on the Indian River, many of them retirees, were evacuated while the damage levels were assessed.

"It woke me up and almost sucked my wife out the window," said Roger Vayles, a resident of the condo complex.

His wife, Sal, got up to close the window because of the rain, and the storm hit as she was returning to bed, he said. She was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

"Everything just broke loose," Vayles said. "I could see the barbecue grill on the porch take off like a bullet. Then the window blew out and my wife had to hold onto the banister."

Resident Bill Scholl said: "The whole building shook. It trembled."

The storm broke water pipes in the condo and flooded many hallways, he said.

"There was water running down the stairwells like Niagara Falls."

Nearly 200 people were forced out of their damaged homes, including the condo complex, and have relocated to two shelters opened by the city or to the homes of relatives and friends.

A police officer in nearby Port Orange was injured in an accident on Interstate 95 when his car was struck by a pickup truck during the storm. The officer, who was investigating another accident on the interstate, was hospitalized overnight but released Sunday morning with cuts and bruises, said police spokesman Mike Sheridan.

Damaged neighborhoods in the Volusia County community just south of Daytona Beach have been closed to everyone except residents and emergency workers. Appraisers were sent out to assess the damage, but no estimates were available late Sunday.

"Curious onlookers and everyone are asked to stay away," Brouillette said. City officials were considering a request for a curfew in areas where about 75 structures were damaged, some of them severely.

Firefighters dug some people out of beachside homes that collapsed, and utility crews worked to restore power to thousands of residents. Utility officials were not available Sunday to provide an estimate of the number without power.

The tornado was part of a stormy weather front that caused problems across the peninsula Sunday. Another tornado touched down in Cape Coral in southwest Florida, causing minor damage to homes across a 2-square-mile area but injuring no one.