Residents return after apartment roof blown off


JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Residents at a Jacksonville Beach apartment complex are back home after Monday's storms ripped their roof off.

Wood from the roof of Melrose Place Apartments wound up in the parking lot. A roofer said if the nails had been a little longer, the roof would have held. But now it needs to be replaced.

With the tarps laid and secured, the few dozen residents moved back in Tuesday.

"It's been as painless as you can make it for a disaster," said resident Christopher Peer, who stayed at a hotel Monday night. "I live at the beach, so I'm used to heavy storms coming through. And I was inside the apartment, and it's a solid building, so I didn't hear that much. And I didn't expect to come out and see the roof in the parking lot. I thought it was construction garbage, but instead I realized it was our roof."

IMAGES: Damage left by cold front

A roofing company has been called in to not only replace the roof that was peeled off, but also the old gravel roof that was covered up underneath.

"We'll have to completely take the roof that was underneath it off before we can put our product on," said J.C. Lundskow, of David Merritt Roofing.

Mike Cordray, who owns the complex, spent the day getting his renters in and out of hotels and dealing with the insurance company. He's relieved the roof was the only casualty.

"Once the wind got under it, it was just, that was all she wrote," Cordray said. "We'll get everyone back to normal life and the damage fixed and move forward."

The one positive about the gravel roof that was found underneath it is that the space in between has the primary damage, and the ceilings to the individual apartments are still intact.

The estimated cost to replace the roof is between $40,000 and $60,000.

Arlington homeowners clean up after storms

One of the hardest hit areas Monday was the Clifton neighborhood in Arlington, just off University Boulevard. Homeowners spent Tuesday cleaning up the mess the storms left behind.

Many who have lived in the neighborhood for decades said they've never seen anything like this.

"The bulk of the weight was at the top, and when that wind came, with the rains, it just knocked him over and split them like a little Popsicle stick," said homeowner Rebecca Grenet, who had several downed trees. "Talk about a splinter, you've got that right."

A tree was ripped up by the roots in the Clifton area.
A tree was ripped up by the roots in the Clifton area.

Oak trees became unwelcome visitors, crashing through roof after roof and littering the road, giving cleanup crews quite the to-do list.

"All of a sudden it got dark, black outside. And then you heard all these crackles and everything," said resident Marion Myers, who's lived at her home for 37 years.

Next thing she knew, the tree that once shaded her home came crashing through it. She said she was about 6 feet away from where it landed.

Myers has been forced out of her home for the first time, but she's thankful the neighbors across the street have taken her in on what could have been a very cold night.

"It is always nice to have friends and neighbors that you can depend on," she said.

A boathouse at the end of one dock was smashed by winds, which threw part of the roof all the way into the next door neighbor's yard.

Power is spotty in the area. JEA worked through the night to get residents' electricity back on, but some were still without it Tuesday.

"It has been very cold. We've got a little baby in there, 11 months, and it is cold," said Jannie Youngblood, who was without power.

While the storms caused quite the headache, residents said they're lucky.

"I said, 'Oh dear Lord, please don't let anybody be hurt, No. 1," Grenet said. "And secondly, let the trees fall away from the house. So prayers are answered."

Most homeowners said the repairs and tree removals are covered by insurance. They said they're using big companies that the insurance companies referred to them to help out. The city was also there with crews doing what they can to remove the fallen trees.

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