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Storm cripples a town

Published July 28. 2012 09:02AM

There isn't a street in Parryville that wasn't affected by Thursday's violent storm that swept through the area.

On Main Street, wires dangle to mere inches off the street.

On Center Street, a roof blew off one house and much of the siding was torn off another.

On every street, trees were toppled. Thursday evening, officials said all entrances to the town were still blocked by the trees, leaving it a town left standing on its own since nobody could enter or exit the community.

South Fireline Road still remained impassable due to the trees and Main Street was closed because of the dangling wires.

Parryville Fire Chief Arthur Strohl counted 73 trees down in the borough. He's sure there are more since he wasn't able to check in groves and other places.

Electric crews from as far away as North Carolina were in Parryville Friday assisting PPL in working to restore electricity.

Penn Line Tree Service of Scottsdale, Westmoreland County, was also assisting with tree and branch removal.

Strohl said initially, Dave & Sons Tree Service of Palmerton came into the town and opened some of the streets, cutting up trees and removing them on a volunteer basis.

"Dave and Sons did one hell of a job," he said.

Some residents speculated that a tornado might have struck, but the National Weather Service ruled that the severe, widespread destruction was caused by straight-line, down drafts.

Parryville Mayor Dean Emrey declared a state of emergency in the borough.

Although orange cones blocked every street coming into the borough, it didn't stop some motorists.

"Our biggest problem is spectators," said Strohl.

The fire station was opened to anyone needing shelter or special services. Firefighters delivered ice and water to residents who needed it.

Mike Kunkle of Center Street was on his way home when the storm hit.

"I was coming into town when everything unfolded," he said.

Then, because of the heavy damage, he couldn't get into town to get to his house.

When he finally arrived home, he discovered that much of the siding of his residence had blown off.

A half block away, a large section of roof blew off another home. The roof wrapped itself around a neighbor's riding mower.

Another half block west, David Fink saw the deck on his family's swimming pool pulled apart. In addition, a family car had a window broken from a tree branch.

Strohl said PPL told him electric would be restored in the borough in one area at a time, with power possibly restored in some sections by 11 p.m.

Despite the severity of the damages, no injuries were reported.

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