Local News

Clean-Up Begins in Storm-Ravaged Goldsboro

Posted August 11, 2007 7:15 p.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2007 6:41 a.m. EDT

— Goldsboro residents awoke Saturday morning to scattered debris and other damage from Friday night’s storm.

Winds of 80 to 90 miles per hour ripped through the area, leaving thousands of residents in the dark.

Also hard hit was a Days Inn hotel in Goldsboro, which lost most of its roof in the storm. Nearly 100 guests were staying inside at the time, and four people suffered minor injuries. Guests were taken to a make-shift shelter at Goldsboro Middle School.

Lance Casey and his wife had been staying at the hotel for two weeks. They returned Saturday to retrieve what they could of their belongings.

“You never expect to get hit in a motel. I’m just glad everybody made it out alright,” Casey said. “I’ve recovered some stuff out of there. I don’t know if I got everything. I don’t know what’s missing and what isn’t. I’m going to have to go through the stuff later and find out.”

Ed Cianfarra, a chief building inspector, said Days Inn probably has about $1 million worth of damages.

Businesses weren’t the only places cleaning up after the storm. Neighborhoods in Goldsboro were littered with tree debris, and about a dozen homes had damage from trees falling on them.

Shirley Sullivan’s house on Holly Street has a history with hurricanes, she said. But Friday’s storm did more damage than Floyd and Bertha.

“And all this happened in like, 15 seconds,” Sullivan said.

Parts of a towering oak trounced her trellis. Sullivan said she heard the thud, and she and her husband scrambled to a hall closet for shelter.

“[I was] terrified. I was screaming,” she said.

Heather Vernatt was at home with her 8-month-old daughter and other family members Friday when they heard the storm roll through.

“All of a sudden, we heard a big – it sounded like somebody hit a car,” she said.

That sound was a tree limb hitting their roof. It punctured three holes.

The National Weather Service said Friday’s high-powered winds cut a swath 2.5 miles wide through the city of Goldsboro. Now, crews must clean up heaping piles of yard waste and work on downed power lines, which left thousands in the dark Friday.

Crews restored power to all customers by early Sunday morning, Progress Energy officials said.

Although 8,600 customers were out of power at the peak of the storm, some residents said the outage was not a big deal.

“No one was hurt. That’s the main thing,” Sullivan said.