Storm damage leaves Clay County family’s home unlivable

Woman says it only took 15 minutes to put her family, 4 Chihuahuas, 2 geckos out of a home

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Two large trees fell on top of the roof of a Clay County family’s home during a storm Tuesday afternoon.

Clay County Fire Rescue said it responded just before 4 p.m. to a tree that fell on a house on Edson Drive off Blanding Boulevard in the Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace area. When News4Jax arrived at the home, the family said two trees had fallen on top of the roof, causing significant damage.

All three people inside the home were OK, and the family’s four Chihuahuas and two leopard geckos were also safe. But the family said the home is now unlivable.

“We’re hoping that insurance is going to cover it. If not, we’re just not going to have anywhere to go. We’re going to be homeless,” said Sherry Cline. “We have nowhere else to go. No motels will take us because I have four Chihuahuas and two leopard geckos.”

Cline said it only took 15 minutes to put her family and their pets out of a home. She said she, her boyfriend, Timothy Varnarsdale, and her son were inside the home when the storm came rolling through.

“The glass had fell out of the back window back there, and they were trying to hold it up while I tried to put something in the way to stop it from blowing over, but it didn’t do any good,” Cline recounted.

Cline said the family took shelter in the living room and she moved her pets to safety.

“I was trying to grab my geckos and my dogs to place them in one of the back bedrooms that I knew were safe,” she said.

Once the storm passed, Cline said, the home was pitch black with significant damage on the inside and large uprooted trees in the backyard.

“It’s devastating because we’ve lived here for six years. His dad and mom lived her for longer than that. His mom passed away living in this house,” Cline said. “We’re going to be struggling. We can’t afford to pay somebody to get these trees off of the house right now. We’re kind of stuck.”

Cline said she also worries the damage will prevent her from gaining custody of her niece.

“It’s going to mess up my chances because I was trying to get custody of my niece that’s in foster care in North Carolina, and we had just got our home check done and passed everything and this happens,” Cline said. “That just devastated us that much more because we don’t know anybody to contact us to help us.”

Fire Rescue said Clay Electric was called to secure the power and the Red Cross will be assisting the family.

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