Local survivor recalls '94 deadly tornado

April 28, 2011 8:48:33 PM PDT
It's hard to imagine what so many in the South are now going through, but for some here, it hit close to home.

Action News spoke with a resident of a local neighborhood who survived a fatal tornado back in 1994.

"All of a sudden, the windows starting sucking in and out and then we saw a big flash of orange light," Donald Pierce of Limerick said.

Donald still remembers rushing to his basement for cover with his wife and then baby son back just before midnight July 27th, 1994, when a tornado tore through their Montgomery County block.

"The tornado came across the golf course," Donald said.

Dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed, but even more tragic, three people, a couple and their baby daughter, lost their lives; their home was hit the hardest.

"Everything there was blown completely away, it was just the foundation," Donald said.

Over time the community was rebuilt. Many families have since moved away, but for neighbors who remain, the images of death and destruction from across the South is a reminder of what happened here.

Their hearts are going out to the many now forced to start over without their possessions and without their loved ones.

"It certainly makes you take a step back and think what's really important in your life," Donald said.

With communities across six states destroyed and the death toll rising, relief organizations in our area have mobilized.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Red Cross has been called to assist including providing mental health counseling to those who need it.

"We have specially trained folks who know how to help people deal with the loss of a loved one, loss of property, their home, their life," Dave Schrader of the Red Cross said.

The Red Cross can be contacted via the links and the numbers below:

SEPA Chapter Helps in Response to Southeast Storms
Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 instant donation.
Call 215-299-4000 to make a donation over the phone.

The Salvation Army can be reached via the following ways:

Financial donations are needed to support disaster relief efforts. The Salvation Army asks those who want to help to visit www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and designate April 2011 Tornado Outbreak. Donors may text "GIVE" to 80888. Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, GA 30384-0339. Monetary donations will ensure The Salvation Army can meet the most immediate needs of those impacted by disaster.