FORT RIPLEY -- With his house shaking, windows rattling and the high winds downing large trees around his Crow Wing Lake home, Emil Curlo huddled beneath his kitchen table early Tuesday morning with Bud-Bud, his scared black Labrador mix, and prayed his house wouldn't shake apart in the storm.
"It was coming out of the west with great gusto," said Curlo, of the storm, which hit his home on the southeast corner of Crow Wing Lake in Fort Ripley at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. "If I ever came close to saying 'Hello, Lord,' this was the time. All hell broke loose. I'm surprised my house is still on the foundation."
While Curlo had about five large Norway pines that fell down in his yard during the storm, the most damage occurred along his beach. Curlo's neighbor, Ray Gustafson, went down to the lake soon after the sun rose Tuesday to inspect the storm damage and discovered his Crestliner fishing boat and boat lift were gone.
Gustafson's fishing boat, along with the boat lift, were tossed 100 feet away, landing sideways on top of Curlo's dock. Both of Curlo's fishing boats were found nearby, sunk during the storm, and his heavy cedar dock sections were tossed upside down in the lake and on shore. Curlo's boathouse also was damaged, with several wooden planks and shingles ripped from the building. A neighbor found his boat motor in the lake. Several other neighbors awoke Tuesday to find their docks damaged along this section of Crow Wing Lake.
"These docks are heavy and it smashed it up like toothpicks," said Curlo. "I've got two sunken boats, a smashed dock, my neighbor's lift station and boat where my dock used to be. It was a really bad, bad storm. That's all I can say."
Curlo's power was out from 4:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday. He lives alone with his dog and suffers from breathing problems, relying on nebulizer treatments three times every day to help him breathe. Gustafson and a friend came over Tuesday morning to deliver a generator to him so he could undergo his treatments.
"I thought that was really nice of them," said Curlo.
On Tuesday afternoon, Gustafson, Curlo and their neighbor John Chabot worked to get Gustafson's boat out of the overturned boat lift. They bailed the water from the boat but as it floated inside the overturned boat lift, it created an additional challenge to remove the boat from the lift.
"It's stuck," said Curlo. "It's really stuck."
They were eventually successful in freeing the boat, but the heavy boat lift remained submerged on its side Tuesday night.
"Nature has its fury," said Curlo. "You don't know why, when or anything, but all of a sudden it can show you that you are not totally in control."
Along Crow Wing Lake Road Tuesday afternoon, residents were cleaning their yards of brush and debris. Leaves were scattered throughout yards and the roadway, shaken from their branches during Tuesday morning's storm.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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