The Chief of Clewiston Police confirms there has been a roof collapse at a nursing home as a strong cell of thunderstorm swept across the area.
As many as 117 residents were evacuated Wednesday, at around 5 p.m., said police. No one was injured.
Police, fire and deputies were seen loading residents onto transport buses who were sent to John Boy Auditorium to sleep for the night.
The fire department doesn’t think any part of the building is safe to stay in.
The location of the nursing home is the corner of Lopez Street and West Ventura Avenue.
“I just did a walk-through, and it’s pretty bad,” said Steve Whidden, Hendry County Sheriff. “The entire roof on one section, as you can see, is gone and missing, so they’re very luck, very lucky.”
One neighbor was trapped in her car with her daughter.
“I was worried about me and my baby because my car was like actually rocking, and I thought it was going to tip over the way it was rocking,” said Jennifer Stoudmire, Clewiston resident.
Neighbors said they’ve never seen a storm like this before. One neighbor recalled the hail sounding like big rocks when it hit their car.
“We were trying to protect our windows, you know, and then when my husband came out the door, the roof was flying,” said Sherlin Pass, Clewiston resident.
When Pass saw the roof collapsing at the nursing home, all she could think about was her godmother, who lives in the room where a tree came crashing through.
“That upset me real bad, real bad, knowing that we can’t get hands on her,” Pass said.
Her godmother is OK.
The auditorium will be used as temporary housing for the next few days before more permanent accommodations are made.
In the meantime, the city manager is asking people to reach out to the Clewiston Police Department.
Their emergency operations center is fully staffed, ready to answer questions for people who have loved ones who were transported to the auditorium.