June 1, 2011…
It’s hard to believe three years have already passed since that terrible day when tornadoes tore through western Massachusetts causing 4 deaths and multi-millions of dollars in damages.
It was 4:38PM when the twister crossed the Connecticut River and slammed into the South End of Springfield before it continued heading east.
Altogether, damage was reported in 19 communities from 3 seperate tornadoes. Westfield, West Springfield, Springfield, Wilbraham, Hampden, Brimfield, Sturbridge, Charlton and especially Monson sustained some serious damage.
On the Thursday, May 29th edition of Connecting Point — we’ll remember the day the tornadoes struck and look at all the work that’s been undertaken to repair the damage and restore the lives ripped apart that day.
We’ll talk with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno about his memories of the events surrounding the tornadoes. He’ll talk about all the cooperation between local, state and federal government resources to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of people who lost homes and businesses. Governor Patrick came to Springfield and Monson within hours of the catastrophe and 1,000 members of the National Guard were activated to help with rescue and recovery.
Hundreds of private homes and commercial buildings were damaged across the region and decisions had to be made quickly on which ones could be saved and which ones had to be condemned and torn down so they wouldn’t fall down.
In Springfield, it was soon decided to invite the community to participate in a massive effort to plan the restoration of storm-damaged neighborhoods. Mayor Sarno talks with us about the involvement of thousands of city residents in that recovery process and what it has meant to Springfield.
The Mayor also points out that things could have been much, much worse that day. What if the tornado had come two hours earlier,when thousands of students were in the streets heading home from school? What if it had come 12 hours later — early in the morning when most residents were still asleep? The number of injured and dead could have been enormous.
More personally, Mayor Sarno says that as he moved around the city in the days following the tornado — he was especially impressed by the strong spirit of the people. Many, whose own homes or businesses had been damaged, came up to him asking what they could be doing to help.
June 1, 2011…