VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — Strong winds are believed to have ripped apart a metal roof at a strip mall in Sarasota County. Storms moved through the Tampa Bay area Friday.
Late Friday morning, firefighters responded to the Arc Plaza located in the 2000 block of Tamiami Trail in Venice. Eagle 8 flew over the strip mall around noon on Friday. From Eagle 8’s vantage point, it appeared as though strong winds may have ripped the roof off of the mall.
Large areas of the roof were exposed, the warped and twisted metal roofing was laying on cars and in the parking lot.
No details have been released about possible injuries.
“The winds started blowing up and it just went boom,” Yummies Donuts & BBQ owner Allen Tines said. “Tonight, I think we are just going to go home and decompress and start over first thing tomorrow morning.”
Immediately, Tines called his wife. “And I got the call,” Karen Tines recalled. “’Karen, it’s bad. B-A-D, bad. You need to get over here now.’”
There were about 20 customers in Yummies at the time. Employee Nichole Pachter said customers did not know what was going on. But once they did find out, they got their bagels and donuts before leaving. “It was very casual. It was crazy,” Pachter said.
Power was eventually restored to the area. Tines said he hopes to have his business up and running by Sunday.
The National Weather Service has not listed an official cause. However, Robert Garcia With the National Weather Service saw the photos and made this comment on the NWS internet chat room:
“After looking at pictures from the Venice damage, the roof damage appears to be all unidirectional which indicates straight line winds may have been the cause. We had reports of 45 mph wind gusts in that area, so it makes sense to classify it as thunderstorm wind damage.”
News Channel 8 Facebook follower David Kronk emailed us photos along with the message, “I think we just got hit by a tornado, our entire roof just got torn off.”
Kronk works for Evolve Insurance Agency in the plaza.
Firefighters also responded to the Mutt Hutt Grooming Salon located in the same strip mall.
Meanwhile, in DeSoto County, residents in one Arcadia neighborhood in DeSoto County were hit by a storm with winds gusting up to 65 miles per hour. Parts of roofs were torn off homes, trees were knocked over, and debris was scattered all over the area of Windy Pine Street and State Road 72.
The American Red Cross responded and was on scene to help one family. “I came home, and just stuff was thrown everywhere and the truck had been damaged,” Collin Williams said. Williams found twisted metal wrapped around a family vehicle. There were trees and metal strewn throughout the area.