North Carolina officials estimate at least $500,000 worth of damage from deadly tornado

Sunday, November 19th 2006, 10:18 pm
By: News On 6

RIEGELWOOD, N.C. (AP) _ A tornado that killed eight people in southeastern North Carolina caused at least $500,000 worth of damage, officials said.

Kip Godwin, chairman of the Columbus County Board of Commissioners, said Saturday that damage assessment teams determined that 13 homes in the Riegelwood area were destroyed. One home had major damage and a couple dozen more had minor damage, he said.

The damage estimate could increase after officials analyze tax values, Godwin said.

The tornado hit a mobile home park in Riegelwood early Thursday. Cleanup efforts continued Saturday as victims tried to uncover some of their belongings.

Also Saturday, a disaster assistance center opened to help storm victims apply for state disaster grants and loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Seven people remained hospitalized Sunday, including two children in critical condition, two children in stable condition, and three adults _ two in good condition, one in fair, Godwin said.

The tornado was part of a devastating line of thunderstorms that killed 12 as they swept across the South. Riegelwood is a small town on the Cape Fear River about 20 miles west of coastal Wilmington.