Corridor of reported tornado along Route 13 in Smyrna
The National Weather Service reported a possible tornado ripped through Smyrna during Tropical Storm Isaias this morning, Aug. 4.
The path of destruction was visible along the east side of Route 13 from Mr. Tire near Food Lion north to a neighborhood on Black Diamond Road several miles north of town.
"It sounded like a freight train," said John Marvel who lives in the Green Meadows neighborhood north of East Commerce Street. "I got everyone into the basement."
Trees were toppled and fences were blown over throughout the neighborhood.
While a tree fell near Marvel's home, his family is OK, and damage was limited to a bent gutter and a few lost shingles.
"I've lived here about 15 years and I've never seen anything as bad as this," said Marvel.
Robert Daniels, 1st assistant fire chief at Citizens' Hose Company of Smyrna, said firefighters responded to reports of storm damage throughout the Smyrna area, in town and in rural areas.
However, "it seems like it was concentrated on the east side of the highway," Daniels said. "That's the area that sustained the most amount of damage."
"It went from Rommel Harley-Davidson to Mr. Tire, Belmont Hall, Odd Fellows Cemetery, and the Locust Street area, but nothing was as bad as Green Meadows and Amber Ridge on Black Diamond Road," he said. "It appeared to us like it was from a tornado, the way it kind of lifts off and touches down, kind of missed some places and then hit others along the path really hard."
More than 30 firefighters helped throughout the morning, starting just after 9 a.m., responding to reports of trees down, trees or limbs on electric lines and trees into houses.
Daniels estimated the fire company received more than 100 calls about storm damage.
"Thank God, we received no reports of residents who got hurt, and we had no injuries," said Daniels.
He said firefighters helped residents remove trees and limbs from roofs. At one home, limbs broke off a tree and punctured the roof.
"We pulled out the limbs using our ladder truck, and then used a tarp to cover the holes in the roof," said Daniels.
He said the last time he can remember a tornado in Smyrna was actually in one of the same neighborhoods more than 25 years ago.
“I've lived in Smyrna 34 years. I was born and raised here, and the last time I remember a tornado was in the early 1990s and it also went through Green Meadows," he said. "I remember vividly a statue of Jesus in front of one house. The houses on either side were demolished, but the house with the Jesus statue was unscathed.”
Daniels said the firefighters worked with Town of Smyrna crews and the Smyrna Police Department in responding to the emergencies.
"We have a great working relationship with the town and police," he said, "and we rely on each other and our training and experience."
He also thanked Barkley Heating and Air Conditioning for providing lunch for the fire company today.
"That was greatly appreciated," Daniels said.