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Westernville residents deal with aftermath of tornado

The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF one tornado touched down in Westernville.

Posted: Jul 9, 2021 6:10 PM
Updated: Jul 9, 2021 8:39 PM

In just a matter of minutes the Hamlet of Westernville was transformed after an EF 1 tornado blew through. Westernville Resident Mark Vaccaro talked about what it was like. 

"It just got real dark out, and it came out of nowhere. My daughter and I went to the basement to seek shelter and it sounded like the trees fell right on the house."

Dozens of utility trucks are staging at the Woods Valley Ski Area, as linesmen fill the streets working to restore services. The storm reduced a two story barn to one level, and trees were snapped like twigs. It all came as a shock to 87 year-old Eunice Obrien.

"I’ve never seen nothing like this, and that great big tree, my son just said to me last week, we sat on the porch…. Ma if that tree ever falls this way on your house….because it was so big…so we have a lot to be thankful for."

You might not think it, but even though the damage is extensive, many of the residents echoed thoughts of being thankful. April Arch-Espigares lost a good portion of her roof, and the storm wiped out her trees, but she's coming out of this with a good attitude. 

"No one was hurt thank God, and things can be repaired, but we’re very fortunate, and so you know you rebuild right."

Thank God no one was hurt, but you might not be thanking him in the Westernville Presbyterian Church, at least not right away. The tornado ripped apart the steeple, the roof, and the windows of the church. Will Olney is the President of trustees for the Westernville Presbyterian Church, and he's in charge of grounds and maintenance. 

"It was a hard hit, but we’re going to be strong. We’ll make it. We got a new minister. We’re flying. It’ll happen, and we’ll get it done."

It may take time to start rebuilding as some of these residents may have interruptions with their power. National Grid crews told homeowners they’re probably going to be here for a couple of days. The news isn't stopping Jean Dunlap from getting work done. 

"Well you just dig in and do it. You can’t leave it. You can’t walk away and say well it’s not my problem anymore. You know we’re going to rebuild if we can and it all depends on whether it’s structurally sound enough to do."

We’ll keep you posted on the progress made throughout the coming weeks.

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