Sarasota couple rescued from roof collapse after storm

- Strong winds ravaged homes on Baywinds Lane, off Hollywood Boulevard, in Sarasota early Sunday morning. A tornado touched down on the residential street, leaving many homes damaged and two residents trapped inside their house.

Firefighters had to rescue a man and a woman from inside 1604 Baywinds Lane when the roof collapsed onto the second floor of the home around 3 a.m.

"The first victim was easily removed with just a simple ladder placement. The second victim, we had to call in our special operations team," said Assistant Fire Chief Bill Hoag with the Sarasota County Fire Department. "They used specialized equipment, such as airbags, to lift up the roof and stabilize it."

The woman inside the home suffered minor cuts and bruises during the rescue. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Debris from the fallen roof could be found on yards as far as 10 homes down. Every home on the block had tree limbs, nails and insolation littering the front yard. Electricity was turned off throughout the neighborhood crews searched for and repaired downed power lines.

"I've lived on this block since 1976. I saw that whole street develop, and I didn't ever think that I'd see the whole street destroyed," said Don Garvey.

Garvey described hearing the sound of a freight train the moment the tornado hit. A portion of his roof was damaged.

Many residents spent Sunday beginning the cleanup process, which will likely take days.

Sarasota officials are advising people to be careful as they navigate through their neighborhoods to explore the damage.

"We don't want folks out there. We haven't assessed the amount of damage from power lines or debris on the roadways," said Jason Bartolone, spokesperson for Sarasota County. "We're still at a Level 2 activation at our emergency operations center (EOC), which is really the nerve center for whenever there's an incident or a weather event like this."

Florida Power expects to have electricity fully restored throughout the area by Monday.

Sarasota EOC officials are asking any residents needing to report damage to call 941-861-5000.

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