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Five Injured After Wind Collapses Pennsylvania Circus Tent

SEWARD, Pa. (AP) — High winds toppled a circus tent in western Pennsylvania, injuring five people including three children.

One adult was struck in the head and hospitalized in intensive care after the Lewis and Clark Circus tent collapsed during a brief storm Thursday in Seward, Westmoreland County.

Seward Volunteer Fire Company Chief Travis Lovejoy says spectators fled from the toppled tent partway through the first of two scheduled shows. Three people were taken from the scene in ambulances.

"There was no warning of any kind. It lasted probably less than 10 minutes," said circus owner Albert Buchanan.

Numerous strong storms wreaked havoc with roads and homes across the state. Damaging hail was reported in in Franklin, Schuylkill, Carbon, Cumberland and Northumberland counties. The National Weather Service is investigating several funnel cloud reports.

PPL Electric Utilities reported almost 65,000 customers remained without power Friday morning with the most affected in Dauphin, Cumberland and York counties in the Susquehanna Valley and Pike, Monroe, Wayne and Carbon counties in the Poconos. The storm interrupted some of the utility's transmission and distribution facilities and knocked out about 120,000 customers at the peak.

Hail up to 3 inches in diameter was reported in Carbon County, where it smashed car windows and dented vehicles in Lansford and Summit Hill.

"We had a bad thunderstorm is what we had. There's a lot of structure damage, but it's not severe like we've seen out in the Midwest," Cumberland County Emergency Management spokesman John Bruetsch said.

In Lancaster, city fire Battalion Chief Bob Pennypacker said firefighters set up a generator to provide power to a resident dependent on an oxygen machine when electricity was knocked out in much of the area because of falling trees that took down power lines.

Police, fire, ambulance and municipal crews responded to more than 150 calls in Franklin County, where homes and businesses suffered mild to moderate damage by high winds and the National Weather Service was investigating reports of funnel clouds at Hamilton Heights and in Chambersburg.

"There were a couple of rescues from cars that found themselves trapped by rapidly rising water," said David Donohue, director of the Franklin County Emergency Services Department. "Luckily there have been no major injuries due to the storm."

In York, where wind gusts reached 60 mph during the storm, a row home lost its roof but no injuries were reported, said West York Fire Capt. Chuck Zienkiewicz.


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