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During Hurricane Matthew, A House Burns, But There’s No Water On A Barrier Island


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Ken and Sigrid McGlothlin lost their Satellite Beach home during Hurricane Matthew. Water was turned off on the island during the storm.

Ken McGlothlin thought his yellow Satellite Beach home was going to hold up just fine through Hurricane Matthew.

It’s a block house with hurricane shutters, and McGlothlin said it was “rock solid” when they evacuated the barrier island to the mainland.

“I thought it was going to be perfect,” McGlothlin said. “Turns out a power line went down on the roof, caught it on fire.”

The city shut down water to this barrier island during Hurricane Matthew, so fire crews were near helpless to put out the blaze. They did manage to keep the neighbor’s homes from catching fire.

“The whole thing’s gone,” McGlothlin said. “We just had the first insurance adjuster here. It’s a total loss. We lost everything.”

On Saturday, the street still smelled of smoke. The walls and a small section of roof are all that still stand. Inside the garage there’s a burnt out shell of a car. When Ken and his wife evacuated, they brought some important papers and three days worth of clothes. That was it.

The couple meet a contractor, who walks up and gives Sigrid McGlothlin a hug.

“It’s man made, it’s gonna be built back,” he says.

Things could have been much worse in this beachside community. No homes were flooded. There are downed trees, downed fences, and property damage. As of Sunday night, more than 10,000 customers still have no power.

The eye of Hurricane Matthew, the most destructive part, stayed far enough off Brevard County’s coast to spare them the worst damage.

But Brevard County Spokesman Don Walker says Brevard didn’t quite dodge the bullet.

“I’d say we were grazed by a bullet,” Walker said. “While it gave us a glancing blow, so to speak, we came out really, really well in this thing.”

At the Little Dos restaurant off A1A, they lost the awning over the outside deck. The power is back on, and owner Lou Andrus was cleaning up with a small crew.

He said this restaurant and his other restaurant can open, when they get their employees back.

“We can’t open until out employees are back in town,” Andrus said. “They’re in Tampa, all the way to Tallahassee. … Nobody could find rooms. They kept going further and further north and west.”

Andrus remembers the back-to-back hurricanes in 2004 that kept his other restaurant, Lou’s Blues, closed for 90 days. If Matthew would have come ashore, he said, we wouldn’t be standing here talking.

“We’re happy,” he says with a laugh. “And I think everybody on the island should be.”

At Hightower Beach Park, there are at least 10 people in the water at this one boardwalk, and there are two more people on the beach, resting with their boards. Matt Ferraro sits on the boardwalk. He’s tan, with sun bleached hair and dark glasses. He’s a surf instructor. He rode out the storm in his beachside home.

“It was fun,” he said. “Yeah, had a few drinks, hung out, waited for it to pass over, and my brother and I surfed out here yesterday morning, it was pretty big, yeah. We were the only two out down the whole stretch here, it was pretty cool.”

Ferraro’s home had some damage, but it was mostly lost tree limbs. They didn’t even lose power, which surprised him. He says he’s been through other hurricanes before, and he would evacuate for a Catergory 5 storm. But a Category 3 or 4 storm with hurricane shutters?

“Wasn’t frightened at all,” Ferraro said.

Satellite Beach’s city manager tells Florida Today they think some 40 percent of residents decided to stay through the storm. That could be a future challenge for emergency officials if a bigger storm comes this way.

SLIDESHOW: Hurricane Matthew in Brevard County. Ken McGlothlin thought his yellow Satellite Beach home was going to hold up just fine through Hurricane Matthew. “Turns out a power line went down on the roof, caught it on fire,” McGlothlin said. “The whole thing’s gone. We just had the first insurance adjuster here. It’s a total loss. We lost everything.” (Abe Aboraya, WMFE)
The Little Dos restaurant in Satellite Beach had some damage to the awning, but largely was untouched by  Hurricane Matthew. (Abe Aboraya, WMFE)
Little Dos Owner Lou Andrus said the restaurant can reopen once they get employees back in town. He remembers back in 2004 when his restaurant was shut down for 90 days from back-to-back hurricanes. “We’re happy,” he said with a laugh. “And I think everybody on the island should be.” (Abe Aboraya, WMFE)
Robert Potter grabs gear to help repair the awning at Little Dos restaurant. (Abe Aboraya, WMFE)
One consequence of the storm: Downed fences and downed trees. (Abe Aboraya, WMFE)
The eye of Hurricane Matthew, the most destructive part, stayed far enough off Brevard County’s coast to spare them the worst damage. But Brevard County Spokesman Don Walker says Brevard didn’t quite dodge the bullet. “I’d say we were grazed by a bullet,” Walker said. “While it gave us a glancing blow, so to speak, we came out really, really well in this thing.”  (Abe Aboraya, WMFE)
The National Disaster Medical System was activated in Brevard County. (Courtesy Jeni Hatter, Health First)
Some 46 medical disaster professionals, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, have set up a temporary hospital at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne. Cape Canaveral Hospital in Merritt Island is still closed, and isn't expected to open until Wednesday. (Courtesy Jeni Hatter, Health First)
20-year-old Cristina Aubrey, a Florida Institute of Technology soccer player, came to the hospital to get staples removed. (Courtesy Jeni Hatter, Health First)
The surfers were out in force after Hurricane Matthew. (Abe Aboraya, WMFE)

 


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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »

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