Home destroyed by EF-0 tornado in Fort Myers

Posted at 2:13 PM, Apr 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-07 07:34:33-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A South Fort Myers community is reeling after an intense storm slammed the area late Thursday morning, destroying a home, damaging power lines, and scattering debris.

It happened in the area of Thornton Road and Palm Drive, in the Iona community.

"The whole thing lasted about 15 seconds," said Troy Morrissey, who lived in the demolished home on Palm Drive.

Morrissey said he and his roommate, Eddie Lenz, who earn a living mowing lawns, were sitting under the carport when the storm blew through the area. They watched as they winds picked, blowing palm fronds high into the air. 

"The wind got real strong, and I hollered at Eddie, 'get out of here,'" Morrissey said. "He made for the door, and I got about two steps and the roof collapsed on top of me."

"So he's hollering - I couldn't help, because I couldn't lift anything," Lenz said.

"I just wiggled my way out," Morrissey explained. "I couldn't move for a little bit, but I was just stunned."

Aside from some other relatively minor damage in the neighborhood - a carport across the the street from their mobile home was mangled - Lenz and Morrissey's home was the only one destroyed by the sudden storm, which was classified as an EF-0 tornado.

Lenz said he has lived there since 1986. There was no insurance on the home.

"It's a 1960 trailer," he said. "They canceled me years ago."

The Red Cross and neighbors are helping them figure out their next move. 

Morrissey said some of their neighbors offered to let them stay in a spare trailer for the time being.

"They're fantastic people," he said. "We can't thank them enough."