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.
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.
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.