Crews battle clock to fix Siesta Key tornado damage

Bad weather is expected for this weekend

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s going to take some time for Sarasota County to fully heal from Sunday’s tornado. The county suffered around $11 million worth of damage during the storm. And as cleanup continues, work crews are battling against the clock.

On Tuesday restoration teams from Trinicon were busy tearing down excess debris at the Excelsior Beach to Bay Condominiums. Crews already removed torn drywall and roof debris. They will soon spray the building to kill off mold and algae.

Sarasota County cleanup

Mother Nature is not planning to be cooperative with this rebuilding process. “We’re gonna get rain on Friday so we want to button it up as best we can,” Doug Arnot with Home Depot said.

RELATED PHOTOS: Tornadoes, storms cause overnight damage

Residents are quickly emptying out their condos. “It hurts a lot, messes up my winter plans, I can tell you that,” condo owner Chuck Lannon said. “We’re gonna have to replace carpets. We’re gonna have to replace floors.”

Still, Lannon is thankful. “You can replace things but you can’t replace people so that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

During the next few days, restoration crews will set up rafters on top of the building and set up a tarp to protect it from the elements.

The cleanup crews should have the tarp completed by Thursday afternoon. Officials say it could be six to nine months before the building is fully restored.

“The need for the rapid response is to protect as much as we can what’s already here,” Arnot said. “The damage is done but if we can protect anything further from getting damage, obviously that’s the contractor’s first efforts.”

The tornado wiped out massive sections of Mary Czekaj-Wilusz’s roof. Czekaj-Wilusz spent the day looking over her damaged condo and taking inventory of her ruined belongings.

“None of these things really mattered as much as us being OK,” she said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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