Tornado injures 2 people, damages buildings and knocks out power in Florida seaside town

Sunday, October 29th 2006, 9:08 am
By: News On 6

APALACHICOLA, Fla. (AP) _ This seaside town was without power Saturday after a tornado tore through the area, damaging nearly 50 buildings and slightly injuring two people, authorities said.

All 1,600 customers in the area remained in the dark late Saturday but were expected to have power at some point Sunday morning, said Progress Energy spokeswoman Tanya Evans.

By Saturday evening, George E. Weems Hospital had reopened its lab using generator power; workers covered the roof with tarps and the broken windows with boards.

American Red Cross damage assessors said three homes were destroyed and 43 were damaged in Friday afternoon's tornado.

Butch Baker, Franklin County's emergency management director, said witnesses confirmed it was a tornado that struck the town of 2,500, about 65 miles southwest of Tallahassee.

Two people went to a hospital with minor injuries, Baker said.

``It was like a black wall,'' Helen Reese, an admission clerk at George E. Weems Memorial Hospital, told The News Herald of Panama City. ``It was coming right at us. It was a horrible noise.''

The twister damaged the roofs of an elementary school, Baker said.