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