Hurricane hits Land ‘N’ Sea facility

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – Land ‘N’ Sea’s distribution facility in Lake Suzy, Fla., was severely damaged by Hurricane Charley, and operations have been temporarily suspended pending damage assessment, the company reported in a statement today.

Effective immediately, customers in the affected areas will be serviced from Land ‘N’ Sea’s second South Florida facility located in Pompano Beach, according to the company.

“Our first concern was for our many employees in the area,” stated Chief Operating Officer Tom Schuessler. “A special hurricane hotline number has been established to provide Land ‘N’ Sea employees with vital information. Fortunately, we have received no reports of injuries to any of our staff or their immediate families. Many have experienced property damage to their homes and plans to provide assistance are underway.”

Federal officials have declared 25 of Florida’s 67 counties disaster areas in the wake of the storm, which struck the state Friday and could become one of the costliest storms in U.S. history, according to articles in the New York Times and USA Today.

Damage from the storm could exceed $20 billion, according to the Times as 145-mph winds and a storm surge between 13-15 feet in height left at least 17 people dead and thousands homeless.

President Bush toured parts of Florida yesterday and promised federal assistance for the most devastating storm to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew ripped through in 1992, USA Today reported.

Nearly a million people were without power. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said the state has requested emergency housing for 10,000 people, and 4,000 National Guard troops have been activated. Tom Gallagher, the state’s chief financial officer, says initial estimates showed up to $11 billion in damage was covered by insurance. The actual damage total will be higher, according to the USA Today story.

A story in today’s Naples Daily News reported Pineland Marina in Pine Island, Fla. had been “mutilated” by the storm.

“It’s all gone,” said owner Chris Janson in the story. “I lost a couple hundred boats in there.”

Land ‘N’ Sea is urging its dealers that have suffered damage from the severe storm to contact the company at 1-800-432-7652 for any form of assistance they may require.

“We have temporarily suspended our same-day service to our Lake Suzy customers, but next-day service should be virtually uninterrupted,” stated Craig Hamilton, director of operations at Land ‘N’ Sea.

“Plans to re-route incoming freight and expedite emergency replenishment shipments are already complete. Our team is prepared to provide whatever services and assistance is required, both personal and business, to our valued customers and employees during this local emergency,” said Schuessler.

Headquartered in Pompano Beach, Fla., Land ‘N’ Sea is a unit of Brunswick Corp. and distributes marine parts and accessories from 14 distribution centers across the United States and Canada.

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