Homes unlivable after recent storm

Jacksonville families clean up after Thursday's storm

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three families stayed in a hotel Friday night after Thursday's EF-2 tornado that hit the Arlington and Ft. Caroline areas of Jacksonville.

"Red Cross has been great. They came out to assess damage and they have set us up in a hotel for the next couple days," said Meghann Van Hise.

Van Hise and her family cannot stay in their home that is too badly damaged from the tornado. She and her family, along with two others, are being put up at the Ramanda Hotel on Baymeadows Road until they can return home.

"I've lived in Florida all my life, never experienced this and didn't see it coming, but definitely surprised the Red Cross was out here so fast and appreciate it," said Van Hise. "It's pretty wild, everything happened so fast."

There's obvious damage to the Van Hise home outside, but the damage inside is what makes the home currently unlivable. There is also water leaking in a bedroom where a tree pierced the roof of the home.

The Van Hise family told Channel 4 that the experience has been difficult, especially with a small child.

"With a toddler, it's no fun at all, it's quite an experience," said Van Hise. "You forget those luxuries of having the crib and separate space for them. Just being able to go to a refrigerator and those kind of things. Eating out, it's not as great as everyone says it is."

The Red Cross is also helping the Van Hise's neighbors, whose home is in worse shape. That home is condemned right now with roof damage and there's a notice on the front door to stay out of the home.

The Red Cross is putting the families up for four days to help them get through the weekend. After that, the families hope they will get to go home or they will have to find a new place to stay.

"We're hoping to be back in and set up. We've had great companies come in and help, so our hope is that we're back in," said Van Hise.

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