Homes damaged, people and animals injured in tornadoes

Homes damaged, people and animals injured in tornadoes

Kayleigh Hunter-Gasperini, Patrick Ryan, Sarah Minkewicz and Trina Catterson

6 hours ago

(WIVB) — Two tornadoes that struck western New York state on Wednesday tore roofs off local homes, ripped trees from the ground and injured people and animals as they tore through the region.

Forestville resident Bill Richter watched the scene unfold from his porch.

“The wind picked up, which I expected, but all of a sudden it exploded,” Richter said. “I looked up and about 100 feet away I was like, ‘Holy crap, that’s a tornado!’”

Betty and Jim Koszuta said they could feel the storm as they ran toward their West Falls home to seek shelter.

They have lived in their Mills Road home for nearly 30 years and had never seen anything like it. From their basement, they could hear debris flying around their house. Fortunately, no one was injured.

“It sounded like a semi truck coming…you could hear it coming and Jim said, ‘We better get in the house,’ so we ran into the house when we felt it coming,” Betty said. “You could actually feel it in the house.”

As of 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the town of Eden remains in a state of emergency as residents struggle to clear debris from trees and barns. A barn on Eden Road was completely collapsed while pieces of a nearby silo were stretched across nearby power lines.

Several barns in Eden were “totally destroyed” and animals were injured, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

In Arkwright, Chautauqua County, a portion of the roof of a local family’s home blew off. Wood debris punched holes in the exposed wood and littered the ground.

“The wall of this house is 30 feet high and it’s basically destroyed,” said Brandon Mead, the son of the owners of the damaged home. “There’s a vertical beam that goes up that wall and it’s snapped in two.”

Minor injuries were reported following the heavy rains. An elderly woman in Chautauqua County was injured when her car was struck by a falling tree. She was taken to a local hospital and is expected to be unharmed. Another person was injured at their home but did not seek medical treatment.

At its peak, the storm caused more than 25,000 power outages in western New York.