Miles of barricades manned by bounded law enforcement, the civic bouncer and hundreds of orange cones, block best of burghal Seneca from the blow of the city, canton and region. The breadth was one of the best afflicted areas in the accompaniment afterwards an estimated 12 or added tornadoes affected bottomward Monday morning.
The tornado larboard a aisle of abolition through downtown, snapping hundred-year-old pecan copse like twigs and abstraction houses from foundations in its 160 mph winds.
But in the deathwatch of such aberrant accident — and in the bosom of a communicable — the bodies of Seneca are ambulatory calm to dig themselves out of the wreckage.
Neighbors and abbey associates are bottomward off commons for those afterwards power.
First responders are endlessly by homes, allurement what needs to be done.
A acclimation act: Coronavirus complicates Seneca tornado abatement efforts
The burghal is alive to accumulate a allowing action so homeowners can appoint contractors to fix their broke homes.
Strangers with chainsaws are now a assurance of help, not the opening arena in a abhorrence movie.
The Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail spent three canicule with the bodies of these neighborhoods, alert to their belief of hurt, ruin and hope, actuality are a few:
Utility workers activate assessing accident in Seneca Tuesday, April 14, 2020, afterwards an EF3 tornado with 160 mph apprehension affected bottomward aboriginal Monday. (Photo: MATT BURKHARTT/Staff)
Early Monday morning, Chuck Hill and his wife collection from her abode on the added ancillary of boondocks to see the accident wrought by the tornado on his longtime home.
The artery lights were out, copse were bottomward and burst houses bore little affinity to the ones they’d anesthetized for years.
They were beneath than 200 yards from the home, but Hill was lost.
“I didn’t alike apperceive area we were,” he said.
But like best bodies in the best devastated areas, the two canicule afterwards the tornado were spent alongside friends, ancestors and strangers charwoman up bits and seeing to basal activity needs — food, water, comfort.
A account lineman from out-of-state saw Hill disturbing to cut up a tree, so he lent him his saw.
Volunteers activate aliment on a home in Seneca Tuesday, April 14, 2020, afterwards an EF3 tornado with 160 mph apprehension affected bottomward aboriginal Monday. (Photo: MATT BURKHARTT/Staff)
“The acknowledgment has been overwhelming,” Hill’s wife, Vicki Barron, said. The anew affiliated brace was continuing in the advanced backyard of their neighbor, Stanley. They aloof accomplished allowance him adhere a tarp to the aperture in his roof.
Their home has a damaged barn and several downed trees. They filed an allowance affirmation and are cat-and-mouse to see what can be done. In the meantime, they’re helping neighbors.
The access of abutment from friends, neighbors and strangers has been too abundant for Hill and Barron to anguish about amusing break guidelines while the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re not afraid about covid anymore. Aback addition gives you article … you’re activity to accord them a hug,” Barron said.
And Barron has acceptance Seneca will acclimate this storm, because they consistently footfall up.
“I can accomplish a buzz alarm at any time and get a response,” she said.
James and Gwendolyn Williams sat on their advanced balustrade in the afternoon sun on Tuesday. The advanced balustrade acclimated to be screened-in, but the tornado took the walls forth with best of their roof. “It’s out aback somewhere,” James said. The tornado punched a few holes in their accumulator afford out back, too.
James Williams and his wife Gwendolyn Williams sit in what was their amid balustrade of their home in Seneca, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, afterwards an EF3 tornado with 160 mph apprehension affected bottomward aboriginal Monday antibacterial it and their roof. (Photo: MATT BURKHARTT/Staff)
They anticipate a allotment of angled area metal in the adjacent grass is from the BorgWarner bulb a few afar away.
“Been actuality 13 years, the affliction we’ve anytime had,” James said as he surveyed the house.
As the brace discusses the accident to their home, a man with a five-o-clock adumbration wearing a Clemson Tigers absolute shirt walks by, ‘Y’all allegation any help?’”
The Williams affably declined. The man walks abroad and holds up a accord assurance as he calls back, “God absolve y’all.”
The barter was one they’ve been accepting with passersby for hours, but added than accepting a acquaintance advice bright their driveway to move the ancestors car, the Williams’ haven’t taken any volunteers up on their offers.
“We got added advice than we absolutely wanted. Bodies were advancing from everywhere,” Gwendolyn said. They’re cat-and-mouse on allowance to analysis the wreckage. While they wait, they’re blockage in a adjacent auberge so they don’t acquire to absorb the night in a roofless, blank house.
More tornado coverage
Walnut Artery Grocery — accepted by locals as Blake’s — has been accessible 54 years.
Owner Dot Smith doesn’t apperceive if they’ll see their 55th.
The roof off the broad red-brick architecture is gone. Half of its bottle windows were shattered. The accumulator allowance in the aback is accessible to the sky. The ability box was ripped from the wall.
Dot Smith, who owns Walnut Artery Grocery Store, frequently accepted as Blake’s, with her bedmate Chris Smith, talks Tuesday, April 14, 2020, about the EF3 tornado which destroyed their abundance aback it affected bottomward aboriginal Monday. (Photo: MATT BURKHARTT/Staff)
When Dot and her husband, Chris, came to the grocery abundance Monday morning, a burst aqueduct was spewing baptize beyond the grocery abundance and alarm shop. Their liquor abundance abutting aperture is in aloof as bad of shape.
When the coronavirus communicable hit, locals came to get takeout and advice their hot-dog angle business. They’d had added business in those canicule afterwards Gov. Henry McMaster bankrupt dining apartment than they usually did.
Now, afterwards the tornado, Dot said “a hundred people” acquire chock-full by to ask if they allegation help.
Their ancestors has pitched in, too: a babe collection brief from Alabama. A brother-in-law brought aliment for the baby clean-up crew. A sister ashore by Dot’s ancillary through it all, analysis the ashore abundance she formed at afore the storm.
The autogenous of Walnut Artery Grocery Store, frequently accepted as Blake’s Tuesday, April 14, 2020, whose roof was destroyed afterwards an EF3 tornado with 160 mph apprehension affected bottomward aboriginal Monday. (Photo: MATT BURKHARTT/Staff)
But still, the accident is all-encompassing abundant they don’t apperceive if the architecture can be saved.
“We don’t apperceive if we’ll be able to accessible aback up,” Dot said.
The tornado seemed to accept which houses, businesses and churches it would obliterate in its 160 mph winds, Seneca built-in Jane Foster said as she stood in her advanced yard.
Foster’s dejected farmhouse — the abode she’s lived in for 47 years — was spared. Dozens of copse and two cartage were not.
Go three blocks one way, Foster said, and backdrop attending untouched. Three yards in the adverse direction, “tons of damage.”
Her backyard “looked like a bomb went off.” Dozens of trees, bushes, flowers and bird feeders were splintered and broadcast in Monday morning’s winds.
“People started calling allurement to help, but with COVID-19 I didn’t know,” Foster said, afraid about the cardinal of volunteers advancing to advice and advancing to accompany food.
Then she looked at the downed copse in her advanced yard, the burst baptize capital aqueduct that had to be shut off and the timberline block on top of her late-mother’s abode abutting door. “It got to the point area we said, ‘OK come,’ because we were so overwhelmed.”
By Tuesday morning, Foster begin herself in allegation of her husband, Bill, and about 15 volunteers from a Clemson Boy Scout Troop and associates from First Baptist Clemson who’d apparent up to help.
Tuesday morning, she beatific an administrator with the Accompaniment Department of Natural Resources abroad afterwards he showed up allurement to help.
“I told him, go acquisition addition who absolutely needs it.”
Zoe covers Clemson for The Greenville News and Independent Mail. Reach her at [email protected] or Twitter @zoenicholson_
Read or Share this story: https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/south-carolina/2020/04/16/tornado-seneca-comes-together-help-each-other-recover-coronavirus/5138800002/
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