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West Virginia man survives Hurricane Michael and shelters others

Nick Schirtzinger, a Hurricane, West Virginia native, rode out Hurricane Michael in his Panama City Tudor's Biscuit World. (Nick Schirtzinger)

A man born and raised in Hurricane, West Virginia weathered Hurricane Michael, a devastating Category Four storm, inviting five people, including a World War II veteran, and seven dogs into his Panama City Tudor’s Biscuit World.

As Hurricane Michael rolled over his business, Nick Schirtzinger watched as it’s nearly 155 mile per hour winds caused damage like he’d never seen before including damaging a warehouse found right behind his business.

“It’s just completely gone,” he said. “That was probably a 15-foot-high roof. You can see furniture and stuff.”

A nearby business' glass front was blown in, power poles snapped and lay in the streets, and buildings were destroyed on his block alone, but the Tudor’s stood relatively undamaged when the storm passed.

“You know your building is built well when your contractor rides out a Cat 4 with you,” Schirtzinger said.

The only damage to the main business was a toppled drive-through menu and parking lot sign, but Schirtzinger’s administrative office and dry food storage building wasn’t so lucky.

“I could see wind tearing through this window over into the far window,” he said walking over the remains of supplies and stock shelves. “The ceiling here has been pulled out. I saw the situation at the office over here, and I just laid down because I just couldn’t watch. It was going to kill me inside.”

The only silver linings, he said, was no one he knew was injured, and his wedding in Pittsburgh this weekend is still on.

“I’m either going to get on a flight tomorrow, or I’m going to start driving north to Pittsburgh to marry my fiancé Kara,” Schirtzinger said. “That’s the best thing I can look forward to right now because it’s not looking pretty here.”

He said he doesn’t expect the business to be open within a month, but, with his fiancé’s help, he knows he can bounce back.

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