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Tornado Skips Through Florida City

November 3, 1997

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A tornado skipped through this Atlantic Coast community early Sunday, tearing whole second stories off homes. Thirty-two people were injured.

The twister caused at least $10 million worth of damages. Six storm victims remained hospitalized Sunday night, one with a broken back and another with a broken pelvis.

Firefighters had to dig some people out of beachside homes that collapsed during the storm that struck about 1:30 a.m. Thousands of customers lost power in the community just south of Daytona Beach.

The 64-unit DiamondHead Point condominium complex on the Indian River was devastated by the storm.

Resident Roger Vayles said his wife Sal got up to close the window to keep rain out, and was just returning to bed when the twister hit.

``It woke me up and almost sucked my wife out the window,″ said Roger Vayles, a resident of the condo complex.

``I could see the barbecue grill on the porch take off like a bullet,″ Vayles said. His wife was treated for minor injuries.

No estimates of damage had been made Sunday.

``There’s numerous houses that have the roofs gone, and some two-story buildings have their whole second story just leveled,″ said police spokesman Mike Brouillette.

About 200 residents of the condominium complex and surrounding neighborhoods were forced out of their damaged homes.

City officials set a nighttime curfew _ from sunset to sunrise. No one except residents and emergency workers will be allowed in the area for several days.

The tornado was part of a storm front that caused problems across the Florida Peninsula on Sunday. Another twister touched down in Cape Coral in southwest Florida, causing minor damage to homes across a two-square-mile area but no injuries.

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