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Revisiting Campbelltown 10 years after tornado - abc27 WHTM

Revisiting Campbelltown 10 years after tornado

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CAMPBELLTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) -

By the looks of the neighborhood now, it is hard to tell that 10 years ago a powerful tornado destroyed most of the Country Squire Estates neighborhood. For the people who lived through it, they remember the day like it was yesterday.

"It looked like a bomb went off here in the neighborhood and it was pretty traumatic," said Tim Kreider, whose home was damaged by the storm.

It was not a bomb, but an F-3 tornado that hit Campbelltown. The funnel was a half mile wide. It stayed on the ground for 10 minutes leaving behind a path of destruction more than seven miles long.

Twenty-four people were hurt, one critically, 37 homes were destroyed, 100 others were damaged, including Kreider's home.

"Well our house didn't have the damage a lot of other people had. We had windows, roof, siding that kind of thing. But other people lost their entire homes which was kind of traumatic," Kreider said.

Although the trauma may be tough to remember, Kreider will never forget it. He marks the tornado anniversary on his calendar every year.

"The amazing thing was all the volunteers that came out to help us to clean up. I think everyone appreciated it in the neighborhood," said Kreider.

Volunteers like Elaine Tomeck. "Having the summer off knew I had to do something to help, so I called the Red Cross," said Tomeck. "We were asked to go to a house that needed some light clean up and when we got there the house wasn't even there," she said.

Tomeck and the rest of the community picked up the pieces. Now, 10 years later, life goes on, but with a different perspective.

"It was a real community effort to help these people and it feels strange coming back here today and seeing it," said Tomeck. "Also makes you very grateful and glad that you could do anything no matter how big or small to help," she said.

"Like I said it brought out the best in a lot of people. It really did. That's kind of the reason I did the three mission trips afterwards as sort of a payback kind of thing," said Kreider.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado reached wind speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. That is why it left so much devastation in its path.


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