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Another round of surprises, regrets

Hurricane Jeanne tore the roof off at least one mobile home in North Pinellas and damaged roofs or carports at many others.

The Tarpon Lake Mobile Home Park in Palm Harbor was one of the hardest hit in the area, Palm Harbor Fire Rescue spokeswoman Kristy Patterson said, with four homes sustaining significant roof damage. Officials are still compiling damage estimates from the storm, she said.

Tuesday afternoon, contractor Don Kohner was clearing debris at 297 Colonial Blvd. The storm ripped off the house's roof-over _ a second metal roof that sits on top of the original roof in many mobile homes to provide better insulation.

Kohner said he has his hands full dealing with requests for mobile home repairs. He was busy after Frances, but three times as many customers called him after Jeanne.

"It's been steady," he said. "But as bad as it is, it could have been a lot worse."

Homeowners Clyde and Eleanor Schreckendgust have been in western Montana since Memorial Day, but a neighbor called to tell them of the damage.

"We were quite surprised because we had taken an awful lot of hurricane precautions," said Clyde Schreckendgust, 81.

But even shatterproof windows and a roof-over couldn't spare their home from Jeanne's gusting winds.

Kohner will put a new roof-over on the home next week, Clyde Schreckendgust said. The repair will cost about $8,800.

Down the street at 134 Colonial Blvd., the storm ripped off most of the roof. Next door, at No. 138, the roof-over came off.

"It just makes you want to cry," said Pat Plant, 72, who lives at No. 142 and saw the damage with her husband, Carl, before either of the homeowners made it back. "They're older folks."

While other damage in the park was less severe, it still left homeowners racing to file insurance claims and start repair efforts.

Winds from Jeanne ripped off the carport at Phyllis Clark's Philadelphia Boulevard mobile home.

"It looks like someone took a can opener to it," she said.

Though official damage reports have not been compiled by county officials, carport damage was widespread in North Pinellas mobile home parks Tuesday.

At Honeymoon Mobile Home Park on Curlew Road, Frances blew Elinor Wood's screen porch down the street and ripped away a portion of the carport.

"Jeanne took the rest of it," she said.

Wood said dealing with the storm damage made her regret buying a mobile home.

In Oldsmar, a contractor came by Monday to saw off the remnants of the aluminum awning at Betty Chandler's mobile home in Gull Aire Village.

Repairing the damage will cost about $20,000, she said. Chandler, who has lived at 94 Pelican Drive for 20 years, said she was grateful that the inside of her home remains dry and damage-free.

But that could change, since the missing awning creates a small gap between her roof and walls.

"If we get a good rainstorm, it's just going to soak right in on my ceiling," she said.

In Dunedin, city officials estimated the cost of mobile home park damage to be around $150,000.

In Largo, most of the $1.2-million in damage Hurricane Jeanne caused in the city occurred in mobile home parks.

More than 180 Largo mobile homes sustained damage, including four that were destroyed, said Carol Stricklin, the city's assistant director of community development. Damage was concentrated in Palm Hill Country Club, Ranchero Village and Four Seasons Estates mobile home parks, she said.

"There was sporadic damage, some very extensive," said Largo Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Bullock.

The additional metal roofs put on top of older mobile homes to fix leaks peeled off like the top of a can, Bullock said. About 15 to 20 mobile homes were damaged at Pointe West Mobile Home Park.

"The majority of it is cosmetic," said Don Hazelton, president of the Federation of Manufactured Home Owners of Florida. "It was a lot less than I thought because the wind gusts did get up quite high."

Hazelton said he has received 188 e-mails from mobile home owners across Florida asking about insurance and where to get help. Since Hurricane Charley, he has fielded more than 300 phone calls from Florida residents with questions about evacuations and other issues.

"I think they're stressed out," Hazelton said. "I think eventually some of these people, the majority who are affected, will move into another state. I think this is a lot for people to take."

Even at mobile home parks that didn't have significant structural damage, Hurricane Jeanne was a headache.

Mike Keech, park manager at Tarpon Lakeview Mobile Home Park in Palm Harbor, spent much of the day Monday trying to reach Progress Energy and help the park's residents deal with power outages.

The park's residents are elderly, he said, and many of them need electricity to refrigerate their medication or support other medical devices. The power came back on in many of the homes Tuesday afternoon. But Keech said that was longer than residents should have had to wait.

Times staff writers Shannon Tan and Megan Scott contributed to this report. Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at (727) 771-4303 or cshoichetsptimes.com.

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