Stevensville, Md. (WJZ)– Queen Anne’s County is trying to get back to a sense of normalcy after an EF-2 tornado barreled through the area, leaving a trail of destruction.
Wednesday, WJZ learned 155 buildings were damaged by the tornado.
While destruction is still visible throughout the area, the community is focused on the way they’ve come together and the progress that’s being made.
“It’s a war zone,” said Brad Laning, whose house was damaged by tornado.
The EF-2 tornado pummeled through the Kent Island area last Monday in the middle of the night.
“Our 911 center was inundated with calls that we’re coming in over and over again. We were out there responding within minutes,” said assistant chief Scott Wheatley of the Queens Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services.
“The top of every tree is just cut off and this is a neighborhood surrounded by trees. We have no privacy now,” Laning said.
Laning rushed home from vacation to find a tree through his house and his backyard completely wiped out.
“I had 25 trees in my backyard and they’re all gone. I had a pool and that’s gone too,” he said.
“This entire house was lifted up and shifted off its foundation by about 20 feet,” said assistant chief David Rivett of the Queens Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services.
But how far they’ve come with the cleanup process is overwhelming and relieving.
“It’s been remarkable to watch everyone come together. There’s been no complaints. We’re out here trying to assist in any way we can,” Rivett said.
While several homes are already patched up, Queen Anne’s County has loaded out dozens of tractor trailers filled to the brim with debris.
“We’ve already sent out 30 tractor trailers with material and we continue to fill up more,” said Todd Mohn, the director of Queen Anne’s County Department of Public Works.
“This community has come together and we’re meeting neighbors we’ve never met before. I’ll tell you what, we wouldn’t be here without the volunteers. They continue to dedicate their time and help us out,” Laning said.
“We’re family and we’re going to do whatever it takes to help each other in Queen Anne’s County,” Wheatley said.
John Khlok lives in one of the hardest hit areas of Stevensville, the Ellendale community. While he was spared the worst of the storm, the same could not be said for his neighbors.
“They’re livable conditions for our home, but from what I understand the homes are going to have to get torn down,” Khlok said.
Wednesday, he and other impacted homeowners reunited at a town hall to ask county and state leaders pressing questions about the road to recovery.
Questions like will there be federal help?
“What we’re trying to do now is compile our data to see what the total loses are. We’re still early in the process of doing so,” Rivett said.
Aside from the general question having to do with insurance claims and general rebuilding, one homeowner wanted to know what could be done not just to restore her home but her livelihood as well.
“I don’t have a house. I don’t have a business.What can you do for me?” Jessica Testerman said.
Testerman said she initially denied help, but is grateful hearing that her community hasn’t given up on her.
“I am getting questions answered and there are people coming to help me. So, I definitely feel satisfied,” she said.
“We’re looking at two years so we’re just kinda just getting started but you gotta have a good foundation in order to get this going right,” Rivett said.
Another question homeowners wanted answered: Why weren’t they alerted of the tornado sooner? That’s something Emergency Management officials said they will get to the bottom of.
County and state leaders plan on having more town halls in the future.
Officials said the Sheriff’s Office is running security throughout the night to keep an eye on homes that were destroyed and help protect belongings.
Officials said it could take weeks before they determine the monetary value of the damage caused.