Pinellas beach communities avoid major damage from Irma

- The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office opened 11 bridges to the barrier islands Monday afternoon after Hurricane Irma passed to the east - causing little damage in towns like Indian Rocks Beach.

"We had our son stay back," said beach resident Rick Alvarez. "They were in a Cat 5 building. We fared well, thank the Good Lord, some tree limbs down, fences, but over all, the whole beach did really, really well."

Some of the most visible damage was to a Citgo gas station in Redington Beach. The wind toppled the roof over the gas pumps and twisted the pumps underneath. No one was injured.

We met Paul Carlson as he was cutting limbs from a large fallen tree in his front yard in Indian Rocks Beach.

The huge Cuban Laurel nearly came down on his house, but a lower limb caught a large top section before it could slam into his roof.

"We originally thought with the hurricane skirting the coast we didn't think we would have a house left because of the gale force winds. The house is intact so that's a good thing," he said.

An arborist will come to help with the tree. Carlson says if that's his only loss to Irma, he'll breathe a sigh of relief.

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