Severe Weather, Tornado Strikes Massachusetts City Injuring Many

Several injured after storm hits Springfield, Mass.

 

 
 
 

STEPHEN SINGER, Associated Press | | Wednesday, June 1, 2011

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Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

Many reported injured after severe weather hits Massachusetts city.
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — An apparent tornado struck the downtown of one of the state's largest cities on Wednesday afternoon, scattering debris, toppling trees and frightening workers and residents. Several injuries were reported.

Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, about 90 miles west of Boston, was treating numerous injured people, some with serious force trauma injuries, spokeswoman Jane Albert said.

Television news footage showed buildings with their top floors pulverized or sheared off. Video aired by WWLP-TV showed a debris-filled funnel roaring into downtown from the west, crossing the Connecticut River and tossing water and debris.

A spokesman for Mayor Domenic Sarno told The Associated Press there were no reports of any deaths and the city had requested help from the National Guard. Spokesman Thomas Walsh said he was looking out his City Hall window around 4:30 p.m. when he saw the funnel.

"I could see this massive cloud of debris floating around in a circular, cylindrical fashion," he said.

After the winds passed, Walsh said, he could see about 10 large trees damaged in a square in downtown Springfield, the state's third-largest city, with more than 150,000 residents. Officials also heard reports of damage in the city's South End section, and emergency vehicles were heading there.

The storm hit as workers were beginning to leave for the evening commute home. A tractor-trailer overturned during the storm on the Memorial Bridge leading to West Springfield.

Walsh said city officials rushed to the basement when the danger became apparent.

Damage at the city's Cathedral High School included some blown-out windows, said Mark Dupont, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Springfield. All the students were safe, he said.

The storm hit Springfield after a tornado watch was issued for much of the East Coast, including Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Massachusetts state police got numerous reports of tornado sightings Wednesday, including in Springfield, Monson and Wilbraham. Troopers were assisting with the tornado response.

Police said there was heavy damage in spots and troopers were prepared to do house-to-house searches if needed.

Bob Pashko, of West Springfield, said he was coming from his doctor's office when the storm started and he went to a downtown bar in Springfield to wait for a ride.

"The next thing you know the TV says a tornado hit the railroad bridge in West Springfield," said Pashko, 50. "It's the baddest I've seen."

At the bar, Pashko said, the owner told people to get away from the window as patrons saw the storm on TV.

"To see it live on TV when I'm five football fields away is better than being outside," Pashko said.

National Grid reported on its website more than 22,000 power outages, the vast majority in Hamden County, where Springfield is located.

Western Massachusetts Electric also reported more than 12,000 outages in Western Massachusetts.

Connecticut Light and Power spokesman Mitch Gross said around 50 workers were being sent to help out their sister company Western Massachusetts Electric with power outages.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

Houses and trees show damage after severe storms, with possible tornadoes, moved through Brimfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Tom Rettig)


Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

A woman runs with her child to safety after another report of a possible tornado in Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)


Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

A man talks on his phone near storm damage after a reported tornado struck downtown Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)


Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

People seek cover after an announcement of another possible tornado in Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)


Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

Anthony Ricco sweep up debris after a reported tornado struck downtown Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)


Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

In this photo provided by John Garvey, a tornado moves through Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, Mass., one of the state's largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/John Garvey)


Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

An ambulance drives past damaged buildings after a reported tornado in downtown Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck the downtown of one of the state's largest cities on Wednesday afternoon, scattering debris, toppling trees and frightening workers and residents. Several injuries were reported. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)


Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

A police officer checks on people in a house after a reported tornado struck Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)


Gallery 1

Tornado Strikes Springfield, Mass.

* Houses and trees show damage after severe storms, with possible tornadoes, moved through Brimfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Tom Rettig) * A woman runs with her child to safety after another report of a possible tornado in Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) * A man talks on his phone near storm damage after a reported tornado struck downtown Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) * People seek cover after an announcement of another possible tornado in Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) * Anthony Ricco sweep up debris after a reported tornado struck downtown Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) * In this photo provided by John Garvey, a tornado moves through Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, Mass., one of the state's largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/John Garvey) * An ambulance drives past damaged buildings after a reported tornado in downtown Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck the downtown of one of the state's largest cities on Wednesday afternoon, scattering debris, toppling trees and frightening workers and residents. Several injuries were reported. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) * A police officer checks on people in a house after a reported tornado struck Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) * Bricks and debris that fell from a building lay on top of cars after a report of a tornado in Springfield, Mass., Wednesday, June 1, 2011. An apparent tornado struck downtown Springfield, one of Massachusetts' largest cities, scattering debris, toppling trees, and frightening workers and residents. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)



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