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Cape man found dead after hurricane

Hurricane Charley claimed the life of a popular Hyannis inn and restaurant owner who was weeks away from opening a new pub in Englewood, Fla., according to friends and relatives.
/ Source: Cape Cod Times

Hurricane Charley claimed the life of a popular Hyannis inn and restaurant owner who was weeks away from opening a new pub in Englewood, Fla., according to friends and relatives.

Burton MacLeod, 76, was discovered in his storm-wracked apartment penthouse Saturday morning by his nephew and business partner, Richard Lindstrom.

MacLeod, who had refused to leave the three-story Punta Gorda apartment complex unattended, apparently bled to death Friday night after being cut in the leg by a piece of glass debris.

Lindstrom and his family moved to Florida earlier this year to help MacLeod start Mac's Duck Inn Bar and Grill, which had been slated to open in October.

"We had really been excited about this new place, and he was feeling on top of the world," said Lindstrom, a psychologist, who is also recently of Hyannis.

MacLeod was the former owner of The Best Value Inn, the Cape Cod Inn and The Duck Inn Pub in Hyannis. Among other real estate holdings on Cape Cod and Florida, he also owned the Wind Mill Inn in Sandwich and the Super Eight Motel in West Yarmouth.

MacLeod, who retired to Florida three years ago, is survived by his sister, Harriet Lindstrom, and six nephews.

Over beers at the Duck Inn Pub yesterday, longtime patrons remembered how MacLeod remodeled the bar in the 1990s against the advice of friends.

The pub and restaurant beat expectations and became a popular hangout, thanks in part to MacLeod's hard work, wry humor and familiarity with his customers.

Ultimate extrovertBorn in Cambridge to parents who were severely hearing impaired, MacLeod rarely spoke before the age of 6, Lindstrom said.

In later years, he became an extrovert. He was a top salesman with Central Steel and Supply in Somerville before moving to Barnstable.

"He was the janitor that owned the building," said longtime friend David Patulak of Hyannis.

Patulak remembered how MacLeod would rise early to do his own gardening in front of the Duck Inn Pub and handle the most basic of chores himself.

Lindstrom said he spoke with MacLeod several times on Friday, when both men were under the impression the storm was heading toward Tampa, where Lindstrom lives.

At 4:45 p.m. Friday, with forecasters warning that the Category 4 hurricane was instead headed to the harborfront area of Punta Gorda, Lindstrom begged his uncle to seek shelter out of town.

MacLeod refused, choosing instead to watch over his property. Another tenant also remained.

Lindstrom said the storm, which knocked out telephone service, later tore off about a fourth of the roof, an iron-rail balcony, three sliding glass doors and the outside wall of a room.

Lindstrom discovered his uncle's body the next morning.

"He was lying in bed, with the towel wrapped around his legs below the knees," Lindstrom said. "I became hysterical at that point."

According to a medical examiner's report, glass had cut a major artery in his leg. MacLeod had attempted to apply a compress, but he lost too much blood.

Lindstrom expected MacLeod's body to be flown to Massachusetts tonight or Wednesday, and a funeral service to be held at the McDonald Funeral Home in Weymouth sometime next week.

Charley dwarfed BobAs nervous Cape residents fretted over the fate of loved ones and second homes in storm-ravaged Florida, the thousand miles from state to state could have been measured in heartbeats.

In the off-season, many Cape "snowbirds" flock to winter rentals or second homes in Florida to take advantage of milder temperatures.

For others, the Sunshine State is home base to friends, family and business partners.

"I went through (Hurricane) Bob on the Cape. We had a lot of tree damage, and trees falling on houses," recalled Mark Chapman, who moved to Florida from Hyannis two years ago to become the Englewood bureau chief with the Sarasota-Herald Tribune.

"That was child's play compared to this."

Hurricane Charley ripped through Florida and tore into the Carolinas over the weekend, causing an estimated $11 billion in damages and leaving at least 17 people dead, authorities said yesterday.

"There were big brick buildings that not only lost their roofs, but walls," Chapman said. "There were large trucks blown into stores. There were banyan trees that took almost 100 years to grow in groves, destroyed."

Former Hyannis residents Barbara and Don Hedderig were told to evacuate their rented house in Englewood on Friday afternoon. The retired couple moved there in late July.

They packed their car with food, ice and other supplies and went to a school-turned-shelter in Port Charlotte, 20 miles away. But the hurricane changed direction and the school ended up in the path of the storm.

At first they were crowded into the school gym. But as the wind and rain picked up, the ceiling tiles started falling and hitting people, Barbara Hedderig said.

They were moved into a corridor where they were jammed in with 700 other people.

"The wind was howling. It was a terrible, roaring noise like nothing I ever heard before," Mrs. Hedderig said. "It was pushing against the doors."

Then the generator died, and the huddled evacuees were plunged into total darkness.

"People were crying. We were so scared," Barbara said.

Suddenly, it grew quiet. When the eye passed over, water started pouring down from upstairs.

"It was the most frightening experience we have ever been through," Mrs. Hedderig said.

Disaster areaThe Hedderigs stayed at the school for about six hours until it was declared safe to return home. There was no damage to their house or neighborhood. But they are without electricity.

Victims of Hurricane Charley sweated through long lines yesterday as they sought out hot meals, showers and drinking water.

Some of the 15,000 residents of Punta Gorda waited yesterday for ice, water and portable toilets set up by the National Guard.

Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte appeared among the hardest-hit areas, and 25 of Florida's 67 counties were designated federal disaster areas. Earlier, Charley killed four people in Cuba and one in Jamaica.

About 890,000 people remained without power yesterday, and officials estimated it could take weeks to get it fully restored. About 2,300 people stayed in shelters, and Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown said 11,000 have already applied for disaster aid.

Brown said early estimates of hundreds of people missing are probably inflated.

"We're like a big Cape Cod," said former Chatham resident Bob Lotane, spokesman for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. "We've got lots of coastline, on two sides."

A kiss for the carTourists and business travelers who had expected the storm to bypass Orlando - one of Florida's most popular and populated inland areas - were unpleasantly surprised to find themselves in the eye of the tiger.

"We're so happy to be home," said Van Northcross, who returned to the Cape yesterday with his wife, Wendy, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, after a hair-raising five-day ordeal in Orlando.

"We got back to our car at Logan Airport, and I kissed the trunk," Van said.

The couple went to Florida for Wendy to receive her certification from the American Chamber of Commerce Association, making her the Cape's first certified chamber CEO.

With airports jammed, all flights canceled and highways closed, their three-day trip stretched into five days. Hotel rooms quickly booked up with Tampa residents who, ironically, had hoped to seek shelter in Orlando.

"Taxi drivers were being hired to take people back to Las Vegas, back to Texas, Indiana," Wendy said.

"I got my award on Friday the 13th in the middle of Hurricane Charley. What does it mean? I don't know."

Janeth Scanlon and her daughter Judy of Orleans have spent two months a year for the past 20 years at the Signal Inn on Sanibel, which was hard hit by the Category 4 hurricane.

Federal emergency officials said the state has requested housing for 10,000 people, and nearly 4,400 National Guard troops have been activated. About 4,000 insurance adjusters were on the way. The American Red Cross had established eight mobile kitchens and five feeding centers capable of serving 9,000 meals a day.

Law enforcement officials said yesterday there had been no arrests for looting but six people had been arrested in DeSoto County for violating the curfew.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.