Initial city assessments across Bradenton shows fairly good news overall with mostly minor structural damage, lots of debris and fallen trees. Unfortunately, some trees may continue to fall.
Public Works Director Jim McLellan said engineers are scattered throughout the city to assess the situation. He has personally seen a few trees that could come down during a typical summer storm, if not sooner.
“We have to be careful about trees,” he said. “Some may continue to fall in the coming days.”
Planning and Community Development Director Catherine Hartley said most of the damage in the city happened to trees and fences.
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“We are so truly blessed,” she said. “We’ll be doing further assessments throughout the city and I’ve suspended the need for tree permits for people who need to take care of dangerous situations. I’ve also put fence permits under repair and maintenance so people don’t have to come in and get anything.”
With so many people still dealing with power outages, the city won’t be issuing code violations for RVs and trailers that need to be on the street for now.
Mayor Wayne Poston said the city’s work before, during and after the storm “is as good as it gets. Up and down the departments, I’m really proud. And I want to give a shout out to the governor, who did a great job of keeping people informed and getting resources in place.”
Bradenton Fire Department Chief Chuck Edwards said his department came out well with 150 calls about downed lines and transformers blowing during the storm. Several firefighters are helping Collier County and an additional rescue crew is in Naples, which took the brunt of the storm. Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan also said her officers did a phenomenal job.
“A lot of people don’t realize that my people showed up Saturday morning and didn’t get to go home until Monday,” Bevan said. “The reality is that we tell people we won’t go out when winds get above 45 mph, but I wouldn’t put my officers in a situation I’m not willing to do. So when we needed to get out, I called for volunteers and every one of them raised their hands. That was heartwarming and made me incredibly proud to be their chief.”