PALM COAST, Fla. (October 12, 2023) – Driving across Palm Coast Parkway on Thursday, life carried on as usual for many of the 100,000 residents. But entering the B-section of the northeast Florida community off of Belle Terre Parkway and Pine Lakes Parkway, it was clear nothing was ‘life as usual’.

Indian Trails subdivision residents along Barrington Drive alternated between people inundating the neighborhood sightseeing, talking to disaster assessors, news crews and contractors, and trying to manage the damage to their homes after an EF-2 tornado ripped through the area early Thursday morning.

Anthony Santilli was among the lucky ones. Directly in the path of the tornado, it made it’s way east through his backyard, leaving a swath of destruction as it skirted down the easement between the homes.

By lunchtime he’d started to pile up the debris and put what was salvageable back in place. Neighbors could be seen doing the same after their fence panels were torn from their posts, all the way the way down the block.

“My wife screamed on top of her lungs. Stuff was pelting the house. We didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Santilli.

“It took that fence out for four houses, and his, so five, six, seven houses. It went all the houses you can see this way, as far as you can see that way, their back fences are all destroyed.”

“I feel very lucky. I feel very fortunate that it wasn’t way worse for me. I feel for the people who did get more damage than I did because there’s a lot of them,” he said.

Several streets away on Ballenger and Baltimore Lanes some residents impacted had already had visits from their insurance companies and adjustors.

Richard Decker said he and wife Judy felt lucky after what sounded like a train, passed over their house.

“I woke up at 4:45 with another storm warning on the weather radio, never got a tornado warning. Went out in the kitchen, started the coffee maker and I hear on the roof, bang, bang, bang, bang, like huge hail. Then on top of the rain, I hear the train. No whistle, just the sound of train, and I thought, holy crap, so I went to get my wife out of bed, who was just getting up, and I said ‘get in the bathroom’, and by the time she got into the bathroom, it was over,” he said.

“It was a roar like I’ve never heard before. Like a train going by. You can’t hear the click-clack or the whistle but the sound is like nothing I’d ever heard before.”

“We have about a four-foot by eight-foot hole in the roof. The pressure of the storm blew the scuttle hole coverings off and filled the house with fiber glass everywhere. We’ve got water leaking in from the big hole. All the flooring in the house has got to be replaced.”

“Our oak tree is for sale at a very reasonable price,” he said, maintaining a sense of humor looking at the uprooted tree.

While contractors secured a tarp over the couple’s roof, Decker fielded phone calls from concerned friends and spoke with Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin, who was making the rounds with city staff to speak with residents directly impacted.

“We’re out doing an initial assessment of the damage that occurred during the tornado that touched down,” said Alfin.

“We’re going right to people who have severe or significant damage on their homes and trying to make sure first, they’re safe and two, they know what to do next. We’re asking them to be very cautious on anything they do. We’ve had no injuries so far and we’re going to make sure nobody gets hurt through this episode.”

Told it could be between one month to six months before his power was back on, Alfin pledged to look into the situation for the Deckers as Florida Power & Light worked in the neighborhoods.

Other families were less fortunate, with significantly more damage. One home on Baltimore Lane became the visual embodiment of the tornado’s destruction on newscasts throughout the day, and first responders saw firsthand the destruction caused by projectiles due to the high windspeeds of more than 100 mph.

Palm Coast Fire Chief Kyle Berryhill, working closely with Flagler County Emergency Management and Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Coast Utilities and Public Works, was relieved that while there was damage to dozens of homes in the area, not a single life was lost.

“We’ve got several homes with severe damage, I believe we’ve categorized it as major damage, but then we have probably more than 20 homes that have minor damage. North of 100 homes, is my guess, that are impacted,” said Berryhill.

“Luckily for us we’ve had no report of injuries. Our community was, even though some folks had some significant property issues, from a life-safety standpoint, we did great.”

Next Steps

Often stepping up to support the community during crisis situations, Parkview Church opened it’s doors to residents impacted by the tornado. Staff and volunteers provided assistance to six families before noon on Thursday according to Parkview Church Operations Pastor Barry Peters.

“About 6:30 this morning we got a call from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office asking if we could be assistance through shelter and such needs that arise. Within an hour and a half our first family showed up,” he said.

Ready to help, Peters said volunteers will be on site in the neighborhoods on Friday to help residents.

“Our mission is guiding people to life changing in Christ and so we want people to know that we’re the hands and feet of Jesus. Through difficult times we can be who God has called us to be and that is a light in a dark world. That’s our passion and who we are as a church,” said Peters.

“They need our help and we want to be there as soon as we can. We’re thankful that we can be a part of it.”

Volunteers interested in supporting the Parkview Church efforts should call 386-445-5440.

Fire Chief Berryhill urged residents and volunteers to use caution when cleaning up debris.

“We urge residents to be safe around things like downed lines, always assume that a downed power line is a live power line,” he said.

“They need to be careful with the debris. This is not sandals work. They need to wear the appropriate kind of footwear and gloves to pick that stuff up, and as you’re making piles of debris, you definitely don’t want to mix construction debris with vegetative type debris.”

Residents and homeowners are encouraged to confirm licensure of any unsolicited contractors offering services, with the City of Palm Coast by visiting