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Neighbors help clean up after tornado strikes Edgewater, Fla.

6:12 PM, Dec 11, 2012   |    comments
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EDGEWATER, Fla. -- A tornado ripped through parts of Volusia County on Monday evening. One of the hardest hit areas was the Terra Mar Village neighborhood in Edgewater, just south of New Smyrna Beach.

Carlene Wood swept up broken glass at her neighbor's home Tuesday morning while much of the neighborhood was in clean-up mode.

"We're taking care of people on both sides of our house because we didn't get hit too much, "Wood said. "We come to people who need help the most."

She was in Judy and Chuck Russell's mobile home. The couple was right next to the sliding glass door when it shattered in the storm.

Judy Russell remembered, "He had just closed the sliding door and he said 'Hit the floor!' And we did!"

A few doors down, Loren Sholette was in his home Monday, listening to the radio about the tornado warning when he heard a noise.

"We got into the kitchen and the storm followed us in like a train behind us," he described.

Like an uninvited guest, the storm went through his house. He hid in the bathroom.

"It went in and through the hall and took out the windows in the family room" on the other side of the long mobile home, Sholette said.

Dozens of homes are damaged in this one neighborhood. None had power Tuesday morning, so electric companies were on site.

Lester Lyles is with Florida Power & Light.

"A lot of homes we won't be able to make hot again because they're just unsafe," he said.

FP&L aims to turn on the power for most people here by tonight.

A Florida Emergency Management official confirmed the National Weather Service surveyed the twisted metal, the ravaged houses, and strewn debris and declared an EF1 tornado did indeed strike the neighborhood Monday evening.

In the midst of hardship, there's a bit of humor.

A three-foot tall Santa Claus lawn ornament now sits in a trash pile next to a sign which reads "Don't worry. It's just a big bump on my head. See you Dec. 25th."

But on this December 11th, Wood -- the woman who was sweeping up shattered glass -- is focused on the gift of neighborly kindness and she laughs at all she's done in one morning.

"Oh, I've been on a roof, and I'm sweeping now. I was even on a ladder hanging a tarp," she chuckled. "I'm 77, and can still do it!"

Her friends are thankful that she can.

First Coast News

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