Residents return home for Christmas after mini-tornado
ALMOST six months to the day since Akeringa Pl, Mooloolaba homes were ripped apart and left destroyed by a mini-tornado owners have been handed the keys to their newly restored homes.
Ambrose Building crews worked tirelessly for the last three months to have four units at 24 Akeringa Pl repaired and rebuilt, ready for families to move back in before Christmas.
Richard and Rhonda Bate were caravanning in Western Australia on the evening of June 19, when the severe weather event struck the canal-front street.
By the time the mini-tornado had swept through and ended cars had been crushed, roofs torn off and strewn 100m from homes and 30 residents had been left homeless.
Mrs Bate said their thoughts immediately went to the tenant of their top-floor unit, after the couple had seen reports of the damage on television in WA.
"We were just amazed," Mr Bate said.
Luckily their long-term tenants weren't home when disaster struck.
"We never expected to see something like this here," Mrs Bate said.
The pair were beaming yesterday though as they wandered through their fully-rebuilt unit, stunned as the transformation.
Ambrose Building operations manager Anthony McLean said the two top floor units had been fully-rebuilt in a project worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars".
After demolition were constructed from the ground up with new wall, ceiling and roof framing installed as well as external brickwork and render.
New walls, roof trusses, kitchens and bathrooms were installed, with bathrooms fully-tiled and new floor coverings throughout.
On the ground-floor water-damaged ceilings and robe doors were replaced along with kitchens, while interior surfaces were treated and repainted.
Work was undertaken on all four units simultaneously as the pressure mounted to have the properties ready to live in before Christmas.
Crews worked weekend shifts in a bid to be wrapped up by December 16, ready for a final clean before handover.
A Sunshine Coast-based firm, Ambrose Building is one of the largest insurance repair firms in the state and have responded to every major catastrophic weather event since the 2008 Mackay floods.
Mr McLean ranked the destruction in Mooloolaba alongside the damage seen after Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland in 2011.
Ground floor unit owner Jenny Aitkin said the unit was "looking better than what we expected" after the damage caused.
She'd been taken aback by the level of community spirit shown in the days after the event.
Her mother will move into the unit in January.