Deadly Tornadoes Leave Hundreds Of Injuries, Wrecked Buildings

By WGBH News

June 2, 2011

The back part of the South End Community Center in Springfield collapsed after parts of the roof blew off. (Jess Bidgood/WGBH)

BOSTON — Communities in Central and Western Massachusetts are digging themselves out of the immense damage left behind by a Wednesday storm system that spawned at least three tornadoes.
The storms killed at least three people and wrecked at least 200 buildings, leaving behind collapsed structures, scattered bricks, leveled homes and sidewalks covered in shattered glass. Officials say 88 buildings were destroyed in West Springfield, 35 in Springfield and at least 77 in Monson.
State Rep. Stephen Brewer represents Monson. He spent the day surveying his community and collecting heartbreaking stories from constituents.
“We met one lady, she had one mortgage payment left on her house and her house is gone. And ironically, one person lost their check register and a number of paper items and they ended up in Milton – which is about 90 miles away, straightforward. So the human stories are extraordinary,” Brewer said.
Gov. Patrick said 290 people were still in shelters on Thursday afternoon, while over 40,000 Massachusetts residents remained without power.
Meanwhile, public health officials say they are grappling with an influx of patients in the aftermath of the violent weather that killed four people here in Massachusetts.
Dr. Reginald Alidour, a trauma surgeon at Bay State Medical Center, says 25 patients with storm-related injuries were admitted to his Springfield facility after three tornadoes roared through the region.
Alidour says injuries ranged in severity, from broken bones to deep liver lacerations.
“One to two of these patients were actually in buildings that collapsed. We did have a lady who explained that she was walking when the wind basically picked her up and threw her into a metal fence and from there into a vehicle. Quite a few more people were injured because of flying debris,” Alidour said.
Alidour says that while the most seriously injured person remains in intensive care, she is expected to survive.

This article was compiled by Jess Bidgood and includes material from WGBH's The Emily Rooney Show.

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