The sound of metal ripping apart and then being dumped into a large truck could be heard as people walked, biked, and drove by the demolition at the corner of Palm and Avocado, an area hit hard by the tornado. The scene and sound are grotesque.
The owner had lived there for less than a year when the the Iona Tornado struck on January 16, wreaking chaos and damage on 3 mobile home parks in the Iona section: Tropicana, Century 21 and Point Breeze.
It twisted and turned between 7:35 am and 7:40 am. There was no rhyme or reason as to the horrible path of the monster. As it left Tropicana it tore northward and eventually wound up near the Cape Coral bridge.
Many of the victims were home and managed to escape serious injury and even death. One Tropicaner told me that he and his wife were still in bed when it hit. They received a warning, but the notice was too short for anyone to accomplish preventive measures. They lay there, shocked at the sudden disruption, watching their home collapse around them. But they survived as did their cat.
Their son and daughter in law were up in Maine. They drove for 3 days to make it down here and help with efforts to start reconstruction as well as providing moral support to their 85 year old parents.
The survivals in the park were a true modern-day miracle.
One county assessment said 27 homes were destroyed, 24 suffered major damage and 14 had minor damage. County Commission Chairman Cecil Pendergrass said 62 of the homes in the tornado’s path were unlivable.
Since the “explosion” occurred, all that remains of wrecked homes are piles of debris, some more impressive than others. It is only now that we notice signs of demolitions as seen in the March 2 photo above.
Victims are trying to cope in a variety of ways. We are told that additional disaster relief is on its way. If you look at the March Tropicana news letter, you will find a list of all the groups which helped to offer relief. It is impressive that so many came right over, including residents here, to help those in need. Bravo!
“The John Dunbar Theme.” By John Barry from the soundtrack of the movie Dances With Wolves.