RV park cleanup begins

An excavator lifts debris as portable bathroom facilities are unloaded and placed at Boardwalk RV Park in Emerald Isle Wednesday. A tornado hit the park and several nearby businesses Thursday morning ahead of Hurricane Dorian. (Brad Rich photo)

Editor's note: This article was last updated Sept. 12 at 8:16 p.m.

EMERALD ISLE — Cleanup and recovery got underway Wednesday at Boardwalk RV Park, where a tornado destroyed or damaged many residences and several businesses off Islander Drive last week.

The town cleanup is expected to continue through at least Friday, according to Town Manager Matt Zapp.

Josh Edmondson, town planning director, said Thursday the town is clearing debris from public right-of way-areas and it remains up to private property owners to handle their own debris removal.

The tornado struck Thursday morning as the community was preparing for Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall Friday at Cape Hatteras.

While some residents were in their trailers at the RV park when the tornado struck, officials reported no serious injuries.

Gov. Roy Cooper and Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., have both visited the site and talked to residents and business owners there. They and state Rep. Pat McElraft, a Republican who lives in town, told the News-Times they are working to get state and federal money to help those hurt by the tornado.

Mr. Zapp said Wednesday the cities of Jacksonville and New Bern and Sunland Builders of Newport donated excavators, operators and trucks to help with the cleanup. They were still on scene Thursday.

“We reached out to them Tuesday and they were there at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday,” Mr. Zapp said. “I can’t say enough about how much we appreciate that.”

The town manager said he plans to contact other towns in the area to see if they need any help from Emerald Isle.

“We want to pay it forward,” he said. “It’s the best use of tax dollars when towns can help each other.”

Mayor Eddie Barber said Wednesday that Lowe’s Home Improvement in Cape Carteret donated materials like gloves, totes, buckets and safety glasses for the cleanup, and Emerald Isle residents donated lunches to the workers, among them crews from the town’s public works department, which also provided equipment for the effort.

The tornado began as a water spout, then moved over the land near the intersection of Islander and Reed drives about 9 a.m. Sept. 5.

In addition to damaging or destroying about 60 units in the RV park, it also destroyed a business, Artisan Granite and Marble, badly damaged Lighthouse Inn and Suites and badly damaged a building at the Salty Pirate Water Park, all north of the oceanfront RV park.

Finally, it destroyed an ice machine business and some campers on a storage lot owned by Ronny Watson, who owns and operates the nearby Holiday Trav-L Park.

Mr. Zapp said he was appreciative of the Emerald Isle residents who helped out by providing lunches for the workers who toiled in the hot sun this week.

He also said he was grateful that an area business, Blu Site Solutions, brought in a number of portable bathrooms for use by the workers and RV park residents, some of whom were still sifting through the remains of their units Wednesday. That, he said, was arranged by the American Red Cross.

At least one of the residents was having his totaled unit hauled away Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mayor Eddie Barber, on the town website, urged residents Wednesday to help by donating to the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross, he said, has already “provided meals to those worst hit on the island and other support in the tornado area.”

“We truly appreciate everyone’s help,” he said.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

Previous report

EMERALD ISLE — Cleanup and recovery got underway Wednesday at Boardwalk RV Park, where a tornado destroyed or damaged several residences and businesses off Islander Drive in Emerald Isle last week.

The tornado struck Thursday morning as the community was preparing for Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall Friday at Cape Hatteras.

While some residents were in their trailers at the RV park when the tornado struck, officials report no serious injuries.

Gov. Roy Cooper and Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., have both visited the site and talked to residents and business owners there. 

Town Manager Matt Zapp said Wednesday the towns of Jacksonville and New Bern and Sunland Builders of Newport donated excavators, operators and trucks to help with the cleanup.

This is a developing report.  

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