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Residents return to storm-ravaged Raleigh community

Posted April 18, 2011
Updated April 19, 2011

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— Residents of the Stony Brook North mobile home park watched and waited Monday as Raleigh police allowed them to re-enter their damaged community for the first time since Saturday's storms.

They went in, 15 people at a time, to gather belongings and view what's left of their homes.

A tornado tore the community apart Saturday, killing three children and leaving about half of the 200 mobile home units there uninhabitable.

Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan asked residents to quickly gather all the belongings they could carry from their units and then hurry back to the gates, where about 200 other residents were waiting.

He thanked residents for their patience over the last two days while a tree removal company, fire crews and Progress Energy worked to clear debris and ensure that the area was safe for people to walk through.

Dolan praised the Raleigh utility's "Herculean effort" in fixing electrical boxes and power lines and said they expect to restore power Tuesday. He said it would still be a few days before it's safe for residents whose homes were not destroyed to move back in.

Raleigh mobile home park residents get first look at damage Raleigh mobile home park residents get first look at damage

Vickie Lewis, who lives in Stony Brook North, which is off Brentwood Road in northeast Raleigh, has no idea whether her home is still standing.

"I haven't seen my home since I left to go to work Saturday at 3 o'clock," she said.

Daniel Alvarez was outside when the storm hit. He took cover under a porch and watched as the tornado whipped past.

"I saw just a black cloud right there in front of me. A big, dark cloud," Alvarez said. "It was coming toward us and just everything turned white, with wind kicking in really hard."

Seven-year-old Angelica Manriquez said the roof on her home had completely blown off in tornadic winds.

"Another house was on our house, so that's what saved us," she said.

Manriquez went to Brooks Elementary School with two of the three boys – cousins Daniel Quistian Nino, 9, and Osvaldo Coronado, 8 – who were killed when a large tree crashed down on their mobile home. Kevin Coronado, 3, was also killed.

Jermaine Wiggins, who lived across from the home where the boys were killed, said he had damage to his roof, floor and walls, but he left before the storm hit.

He knew Quistian Nino and the Coronado brothers from the Stony Brook North community.

"I played with those kids just about every other day. They'd be out riding their little scooters," Wiggins said.

Dolan said the three children are the only confirmed deaths in Raleigh, but some residents say they believe there might be more.

"We're just being told three children. We know as a community we've lost more," said Stony Brook North resident Shannon Coulter. "We did see body bags come out, and we're a little unclear."

A fourth child, Yaire Quistian Nino, was listed in critical condition Tuesday morning at UNC Hospitals.

stony brook Raleigh residents re-enter damaged community, wait for help

Dolan said it's possible there are bodies that haven’t been recovered inside the community, but he had no information to suggest that was the case.

"In tragedies like this, natural disasters, it does happen that we do later find deceased," he said.

Volunteers from Wake County schools and local churches were on hand Monday, distributing supplies to displaced families.

"Families need toiletries, diapers and wipes," said Wake County schools counselor Susan Connor. "We had an infant that didn't have a crib."

Terry Foley, a volunteer with Catholic Parish Outreach, described a "buzz of activity" in the community.

"They seem to be really grateful for what we were able to give out – bananas, orange juice, things like that," she said.

Officials said Monday that damage in Wake County from the weekend storms is at least $65 million. In Raleigh alone, 63 homes were destroyed, and another 185 had major damage, a city official said.

26 Comments

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  • caji316 Apr 20, 2011

    If I own my home and my property there is no way corrupt officials are going to keep me out while they plunder my stuff either....If they pay my taxes for me I might let them come on my property, but, that's it....

  • caji316 Apr 20, 2011

    I laugh at the power company..They are liars just like 99% of the paid government media...Saying " We will have all power restored with-in 24-48 hrs...." Give me a break...Who in their right mind would believe this lie..... Why can't people tell the truth anymore? Is everyone corrupt like all governments now?

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Apr 19, 2011

    I wish I could like some of these comments...I cant believe someone would ask such a DUMB question as to why they stayed out...Duh...
    Thank you nevergo55mph for your rescue service

  • FromClayton Apr 19, 2011

    "Loose that ME ME ME attitude..think of someone else that is worse off than you...don't say what you would have done..get out there and do something to help!!"
    nevergo55mph

    yep. i volunteered at the red cross yesterday. it was hard work and i feel good about it. my back hurts and i feel good about it. 55 said they were part of the rescue crew. What did you do to help?

    If you have a safe place to call home left than thank the lord and then get your but out of it and helps someone who doesnt. in whatever way you can. You and your home were not spared because you are just awesome or something...you were spared so you can help those who were not so lucky. So show your grattitude!

  • Tired of thoughtlessness Apr 19, 2011

    Ban mobile homes!

  • 2AMANDA2 Apr 19, 2011

    i can't believe that comment from jcd241959 was allowed to post! anywho... my oes chapter is going over to SE Raleigh High School (where a lot of the Stony Brook families and Shaw students are being housed)... i would be happy to take the clothes and such with us. we made kits for them... toiletries and a toy or two for the kids. otherwise goodwill is a great charity. i wouldn't give ANYTHING to helping hand mission. it won't get where it's supposed to.

  • tracy6 Apr 19, 2011

    My heart goes out to these people. However they are not the only mobile home park in Wake County that suffered loss of property. Blackburns Mobile Home Park, just off of New Hope Road suffered sever loss to their homes. 90% of their homes were destroyed, and this is mainly a retired community. I wish they'd report on more than one mobile home park!

  • Chatham Rebel Apr 19, 2011

    Well said nevergo55mph very well said!

  • Coatza Apr 19, 2011

    ...."If I had lived there the police would not have kept me out! How bout you folks? Wonder why these latinos were so law abiding. Just saying...jcd241959"

    Wow! I would like to believe that in the midst of Saturday's tragedy that folks could put on their big boy/girl pants when leaving comments, but I reckon I expect too much from some people. That was such a racist comment.......you would be surprised how "law abiding" folks really are if you would just get to know them, instead of making generalizations...how weak.

  • Oct Apr 19, 2011

    Please remember that these are human beings that have had their entire lives changed on a Saturday afternoon in April. I does not matter what color, creed, or religion. They are our neighbors. They deserve respect and all the help we can give them. Practice being a Christian if that is what you profess to be. Otherwise, practice being human. My heart goes out to each and everyone who was affected. My sister lives near Micro and another trailer park was totally destroyed there. Same situation, Why does it have to happen to those who have so little to begin with?

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