Tropical Storm Nicole: Hundreds of Volusia County residents evacuated after buildings deemed unsafe

Daytona Beach Shores officials say the seawalls meant to protect coastal buildings from the ocean have collapsed, putting them at risk.

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Hours before Hurricane Nicole hit, law enforcement officials went door-to-door evacuating more than a dozen hotels and condos out of fear that they could tumble into the ocean.

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The seawall and dunes that were damaged by Hurricane Ian have now been further damaged by Nicole. Its powerful surf and waves caused part of the Daytona Beach Boardwalk to cave-in, leaving a massive hole.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” resident Jamie Bowling said. “This is my first hurricane.”

There have been more than a dozen different buildings in the shores that officials have deemed unsafe, forcing the evacuations of close to 500 people who are now without homes.

In New Smyrna Beach, first-responders had to evacuate people from the Sea Coast Gardens II condos Thursday.

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New Smyrna Beach police say they were called to the condos just after 1 p.m. Thursday at the property manager’s request to help evacuate 15 people due to concerns over erosion of the building’s seawall and beach dunes.

The city’s chief building official has since deemed the building unsafe, forcing even more evacuations.

Volusia County officials say, in all, 49 different beachfront buildings have been deemed unsafe, including 24 hotels and condos. In Wilbur-by-the-Sea, county officials say another 25 single-family homes were evacuated after they were declared structurally unsafe.

Residents are also being asked to stay away from the beach because of the debris and damage to buildings.

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“If you go anywhere near the beach, you are putting your life in jeopardy,” said Beach Safety Deputy Director Tammy Malphurs. “The current state of the ocean is unforgiving. You might not make it out if you step foot into the water.”

State inspectors will be in Volusia County Friday to help assess the damage, but city officials say it could be some time before repairs are made and people can return to their homes safely.

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