Reporting Derek Valcourt
FALLSTON, Md. (WJZ)– A strong tornado barreled through Harford County with wind speeds between 86 to 110 mph. It uprooted trees and caused an estimated $1 million in damage.
Around Fallston cleanup is the name of the game, but it will be months before things start looking like they did before Friday’s strong storms spawned a tornado that ripped through parts of Fallston.
Derek Valcourt has a closer look at the damage in the hardest hit areas of Harford County.
On Friday, a tornado ravished parts of Fallston.
“It was a hell of a tornado,” said Jeff Stolz, Bippers Automotive.
Stolz says he could feel his small auto shop shaking while the storm damaged his building and almost every car in the parking lot.
“A lot of rain, couldn’t see anything. I mean you really couldn’t look out the window. When you tried to, you couldn’t see anything but metal flying,” Stolz said.
Nearby, neighbor Keith Matthews was hospitalized after he was pinned under a concrete wall when a tornado demolished his auto shop.
“It’s like you’re standing there one minute with your friends laughing and joking and the next minute, devastation,” said Tony Sadler, Matthews’ friend.
Sadler and Matthews were inside what used to be a small auto shop with concrete walls.
“And Keith said, ‘Get down!’ And I went to go in the corner, and that’s when I saw the wall literally twist, and I saw the roof go over, gone!” Sadler said. “And Keith was back about the middle of the building there and I saw him go down and I went down.”
Sadler’s concussion, scrapes and bruises were minor compared to Matthews’ broken bones– he was crushed by the falling concrete wall.
“And all I could see was about that much of Keith’s arm hanging out,” he said.
Friends pulled Matthews from the rubble. He’s now in the hospital as his neighbors assess their own damage.
“I gotta have a new roof,” said John Curan, Fallston resident.
Curan’s home is just one of countless homes in the area now in need of repairs. He says he has never experienced anything like it in his life.
“Never in my life,” he said. “I hope nobody ever does.”
A small office trailer was ripped open and blown nearly 200 feet away.
“This was my office trailer. It was about 150 to 200 feet down there,” John Dennis said.
Dennis is among those lucky to be alive. He missed the storm by a matter of minutes.
“I had to run an errand or else I’d have been in here,” he said.
Nearby is damage to trees, poles, fences, vehicles, even entire walls. The twister ravished nearly an entire tree line. Almost every tree took a major hit. A massive tree fell and crushed a trailer.
As cleanup continues, you can’t escape the smell from all the freshly cut wood. There are piles of mulch throughout the area.
The mess is a boom for tree cutters and auto glass repair companies. But with some of the debris blown more than a quarter of a mile away, parts of Fallston will never be the same.