CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — In the heart of Crystal River, Drone 8 captured the path of the tornado from US-19 into the Ridge View Apartments off Martin Luther King Boulevard.
“The roof fell on my head,” said Jeremiah Lafritz, who lives in Crystal River. “That’s what woke me up.”
Lafritz, his wife, their two kids, dog and missing cat have lived there for over a decade. The roof and their belongings are mostly gone.
“Sounded like a wind tunnel,” he said. “Completely dark, black, couldn’t see anything and things just coming out of nowhere hitting me,” Lafritz said.
He knew he had to get everyone out. His daughter, who has cerebral palsy, was also trapped under the roof.
“All of that wall that’s against the wall that was on top of my daughter,” he said.
At the medical building next door, physician and owner Denis Grillo showed us the destruction inside. The ceiling is partially collapsed, causing insulation to fall and water to get in.
“I’ll be out of business for a while,” Grillo said. “I’m making some contingency plans to see if I can use a neighboring doctor’s office because I have active allergy patients that we do shots for and surgeries.”
But through the devastation, this tight knit community is coming together to help one another.
“That’s what I love about a small community,” Grillo said. “I have had my phone blow up so many people wanting to help, so Citrus County, Crystal River shows the solidarity of the community.”