Storms leave damage in Venice area

- It happened fast.  Around 11 a.m. at Ark Plaza on Tamiami Trail, Allen Times was inside Yummies Donuts and BBQ getting his donuts ready.

"We just heard a loud pop and the lights when off," he recalled.

There wasn't much time to react.

"We felt a rumble and we felt the windows shake," he continued.

Just as quickly as it happened it was over. The National Weather Service said a microburst blew the roof of the building off.  It landed on cars in the back parking lot near the intersection of E. Baffin Drive and S. Tamiami Trail.

"You can't even open the back door; all you see is roof ripped off laying everywhere," said Randy Kendrick, owner of the Venice Print Center.

Kendrick knew something bad had happened.  He rushed out and found other business owners surveying the damage.

"We came out the front and started gathering. Everybody was in awe," he said.

The roof that should have been on their building was in the back parking lot.  It was buckled and mangled. First responders rushed to make sure no one was hurt.

"We needed to make the building safe. We took care of the utilities that were in the building and then made sure at the same time that everybody was exited out of the building," said Chief Michael Reginer.

The only ones that had to be rescued were dogs waiting on their grooming appointment at the neighboring Mutt Hutt.

"We had over 20 dogs in there when this hit," said Bobbi Gabel.

As soon as they made sure everyone -- including man's best friends -- was OK, business owners gave a sigh of relief knowing no one was hurt.

"It was very scary, very scary. I have never been through that before," added Gabel.


Up Next:

Up Next

  • Storms leave damage in Venice area
  • Helping America's heroes, one step at a time
  • Rape suspect arrested in two St. Petersburg cold cases
  • Polk detectives look for lotto ticket scammers
  • Tampa police search for skimmer suspect
  • Clearwater police seek help finding missing teen
  • Smart meters could slow power restoration in Lakeland
  • Largo city workers fired for not reporting to work during Hurricane Irma
  • Nursing homes have concerns about governor's executive order on A/C
  • Hernando deputies shoot bank-robbery suspect