Submitted by Susan Hardee Steger
Morning storms moving through the area caused fire damage due to lightning in several residential units of Sandridge Apartments. The apartments are located in the vicinity of Citrona and Jasmine Streets. Fernandina Beach Fire and Police responded to the scene.
At the time of the strike, the couple residing in the most badly damaged unit was not home. No injuries were reported. According to neighbors, the couple has lost everything.
Fernandina Police requested assistance from Nassau County Council on Aging (COA). According to Janice Ancrum executive director, the COA transported displaced residents to its center, and is attending to immediate needs. Ancrum is coordinating additional assistance with Barnabas and Hope House. Housing will be provided for a number of residents who are unable to stay in their apartments due to smoke and power outages.
“It was like a balloon blew up,” says Evelyn Allen who lives adjacent to the most damaged apartment. Allen along with her pet dog, is just one of the displaced residents receiving assistance at the COA facility. Allen said it wasn’t until people began pounding on the front door that she realized there was a fire. A wall in Allen’s apartment was torn down as fire department personnel put out the fire.
Another adjourning neighbor who was preparing to leave her badly damaged apartment said her two house cats were “traumatized” from the strike. An electrical outlet was blown apart, a hole was torn through the living room floor, and the smell of smoke was still present.
Despite pleas for support at an August 20 city commission meeting from local non-profit agencies, Mayor Sarah Pelican, Commissioners Charlie Corbett and Pat Gass refused to provide funding for the Council on Aging, Barnabas, Micah’s Place, and Starting Point. (See previous Fernandina Observer article.)
August 22, 2013 3:10