SBA tours areas affected by Palm Coast tornado

By Chris Parenteau, General assignment reporter, cparenteau@wjxt.com
Christopher Yazbec, News editor, News4Jax.com, cyazbec@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:03:58 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 19 2013 09:32:32 PM EST

Nearly 5 days after a tornado hit Palm Coast, people are still cleaning up. Fences are still broken, screen enclosures damaged, and even landscaping debris still lingers. Some of them have even had to take time off from work to get the cleanup done.

PALM COAST, Fla. -

In responding to the homes damaged by a tornado last Saturday in Palm Coast, the U.S. Small Business Administration on Thursday said it's currently between the response and recovery phase and helping residents get back to a normal day-to-day life.

The federal agency took a tour of the damaged areas and laid out the process it will be going through Thursday for the areas affected.

Both state and local crews started in the hardest hit areas, including the B section of Palm Coast. Residents there saw their homes sustain roof damage, broken garage doors and fences, and trees blown down.

IMAGES: Tornado cleanup | Palm Coast aftermath | Initial damage

Workers were even looking through windows of houses they couldn't get into to see if there was interior damage. They are trying to figure out the cost estimate for uninsured loss or underinsured loss to see if the area may be eligible for any loans to help with the cost of repairs.

"We're trying to get them here to tell us, do we or don't we get that qualification?" said Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle. "Hopefully we do, and when we do will find out and put that out to everybody what the next plan is. Right now we're trying to get our citizens back to some sort of normalcy, whatever that would be for individual families."

"Thank God my job gave me off this week. They were very good about it," said resident Susan Bispo, whose family is still cleaning up.

Bispo is thankful she and her family are safe after the tornado. The family's dog was inside the house when the tornado hit and suffered a minor cut. Other than that, she said everything else can be replaced.

"A fire pit, 10 trees, they are all gone. There is nothing left," she said. "We had a fence, a shed. They are all gone. That's just the way it is. Everybody is OK. That is all that counts."

She said her days this week have been the same thing over and over again.

"Wake up in the morning and clean. Just clean outside," Bispo said. "We can't do anything inside right now. It is all damaged. Tarped the roof, that's it."

The city of Palm Coast is asking people in the affected areas to check their property for any damage and to report it, no matter how minor it might be, by calling the city's customer service number at 386-986-2360.

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