© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Massive Cleanup Operation Underway In Tornado Zone

By Paul Tuthill


Springfield, MA – A massive clean up is underway in the aftermath of this week's tornadoes in Massachusetts . The state opened three assistance centers on Friday. The top leaders of the Massachusetts legislature toured damaged areas and pledged financial support for rebuilding. WAMC"s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

The sound of chainsaws and wood chippers fill the East Forest Park section of Springfield. It is a neighborhood of single family homes on tree lined streets. Most of the trees were snapped in two or toppled whole during Wednesday's tornado. A tree crashed through the roof of Jennifer Ross's house.
With no reports of missing persons, urban search and rescue efforts have been halted, and government has shifted its resources to help mode. The Patrick administration announced that assistance centers for disaster victims had opened in Springfield, Palmer and Southbridge.
The state also asked people to call 2-1-1 and provide reports about the damage they sustained, in order to bolster the state's case for a federal disaster declaration.
The speaker of the Massachusetts House and the president of the State Senate took separate tours to see tornado damage first hand Friday. In Springfield, House Speaker Robert Deleo pledged state support for the long haul.
Deleo said he was impressed by the resiliency of people he met, like Nick Caputo, who owns Red Rose Pizza in Springfield's South End. His business suffered an estimated 300 thousand dollars in damage.
State Represenative Angelo Puppulo of Springfield told DeLeo the magnitude of the damage is mindboggling..
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said the city was proceeding with a clean up plan, that includes demolishing some buildings that were left structurally unsound by the storm, and using dumptrucks to haul debris from the streets and sidewalks. He implored sightseers to stay away.
Utility companies are optimistic that electricity will be restored in Springfield this weekend, and the mayor hoped to reopen schools on Monday.
Two of the city's elementary schools were so badly damaged that students will have to finish out the last few weeks of the school year in other buildings.
The National Weather Serivce said Friday the tornado that hit on Wednesday was at least a category EF-3,with winds between 136 and 165 miles per hour. The tornado caused damage along a roughly quarter mile wide path from Westfield to Southbridge.