Twenty years later, vivid memories of massive storm - FOX 13 News

Twenty years later, vivid memories of massive storm

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TARPON SPRINGS (FOX 13) -

Twenty years ago today, March 12th, 1993, the "No-Name" storm pounded Florida's Gulf coast, and we're hearing more of the horror stories from people who lived through it.

Tarpon Springs was just one of several cities that got walloped by the storm.

The 'No Name' storm had first responders in Tarpon, like most of Tampa Bay, scrambling to react as it bulldozed its way through 20 years ago today.

But it also triggered a romance that's been going strong ever since.

"It was crazy, the weather was crazy," said Tarpon Fire Rescue Chief Rick Butcher. "There were a lot that needed evacuated, needed assistance."

Butcher remembered the Storm of the Century well. They typically run eight to 12 calls a day, but that day, they ran more than 60 according to his hand-written logs.

"So you guys were hopping?," we asked Butcher. "We were busy" he said.

One thing Chief Butcher told us he will never forget was losing access to the U.S. Alternate 19 bridge, after a big boat named, 'Big Mama', slammed right into the underside, rendering it useless for several months.

"We had to go all the way around the U.S. 19, which it took longer," said Chief Butcher.

And that frightened him, knowing it would cut down response times to the north end of town.

"As far as I can remember, there were no major incidents, but I know that we were worried about the distance, whether it just be for rescue," said Chief Butcher. "A high-percentage of our calls are medical rescue calls and adding minutes to that is just as dangerous."

"I believe we lost six fishermen and residents from Tarpon," said Geoff Erforth, who took pictures that day, which hang on the walls of his Fudge Factory at the Sponge Docks.

"It was pretty scary looking," said Erforth, but added, it actually helped businesses for months afterward.

"The boat stuffed under the bridge created a local tourist attraction. People were down taking pictures," said Erforth. "They had to remove part of Big Mama that was hanging over part of the bridge."

"It was like a hurricane came through and we didn't know there was a hurricane coming," said Lisa Stevens.

The storm also spawned a love connection for Tim and Lisa Stevens, who'd only been dating about a month.

"On my way out, we paused and enjoyed our very first kiss as I went out into the storm," said Tim Stevens, who worked for Tarpon Fire Rescue at the time.

They were at her sister's birthday party together when the call came in.

"We had a really nice time," said Stevens. "But no kiss prior to this?," we asked. "No!," said Stevens. "Very gentlemanly of you!," we laughed. "And then he kissed me and his words were, I wondered what it would be like to kiss you," said Lisa Stevens. "It was very Hollywood," laughed Tim. "I was quite smooth." "Very bold," said Lisa.

"So do we re-name this storm the 'Tim and Lisa Storm'?," we asked. "Well sure!," said Tim. "It's what we've always called it!," said Lisa.

They were married two years after the storm and now 20 years later, the Stevens told us, they're more in love than ever.

Also 20 years later, Tarpon Fire Rescue has proposed station Number 71, which has been on paper ever since the 'No-Name', storm to cover that North end, should the bridges ever get wiped-out again. But for one reason or another it hasn't materialized yet.

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