DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A seven-story condominium building in Daytona Beach partially collapsed Thursday after Nicole, which made landfall south of Vero Beach as a Category 1 hurricane, brought strong winds, rain and rough surf to the area.
Pirates Cove was one of at least 13 buildings evacuated Wednesday due to the threat of collapse from powerful storm.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Thursday that about 16 condo buildings have been evacuated in Volusia County.
“It is like a bomb has gone off on the peninsula up here on the on the oceanside,” he said. “There are pool decks and the back of buildings in the ocean.”
Chitwood said the county is in the process of forming a strike-force team with area building inspectors and engineers.
“They are going to visit every structure from the Shores all the way down to Ponce Inlet,” said Chitwood, who added that the process of inspecting buildings will take days or weeks.
Chitwood said law enforcement officers went door-to-door in 12 condo complexes and at least one hotel on Wednesday to ensure everyone could get to a safe place.
“When (a building) gets declared compromised, we have to search every room. So we have to get keys, knock on the door, announce that we’re here, make sure it’s vacant, log it in,” he said. “God forbid if it collapses, you want to know that we’ve got everybody out. We’re also recording everything we do on body camera footage, because we have people who have told us, ‘I’m not leaving.’ So we asked for their next of kin. I want to go back and give them a toe-tag and tell them to write their information on it, so it’ll be easy to identify later on.”
Nearby, several homes in Wilbur-by-the-Sea collapsed into the ocean Thursday as Nicole devoured a large chunk of the coastline.
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Chitwood said more homes will also be destroyed by beach erosion.
“Just total devastation. And we’re not done yet,” he said. “We knew earlier in the week that at least 22 of these homes were declared structurally unsafe. It was a matter of what this high tide would do (Thursday) morning and, as you see what it has done, this is going to continue.”
A property manager told News 6 Wednesday that several homes had to be evacuated.
“We evacuated this owner (Wednesday) morning. He’s headed out of state. He didn’t want to see it (collapse), obviously,” the property manager said. “We manage the two properties next door, (so) we’ve also evacuated them. Those backyards are also mostly collapsed.”
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