Local News

Rebuilding Begins In Storm-Struck Areas

Posted April 17, 1996 7:00 a.m. EDT

— April 18, 1996 - 12:35 p.m. EDT

Donations are coming in, power is being turned back on, and debris is gradually beginning to disappear as areas hardest hit by Monday's tornado begin to rebuild homes, businesses and lives.

In Wake County, severely damaged Zebulon Middle School has reopened with teachers and students making creative use of undamaged space. Dozens of volunteers showed up Tuesday and Wednesday to help with clean-up.

William Faison attended school there years ago and drove from Raleigh Wednesday to see the damage for himself. He said the sight of the school revealss the power of nature.

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Residents of West Side Mobile Home Park, which took a direct hit from the funnel cloud, are beginning to return to the eerie quiet of what now resembles a junk yard more than a neighborhood.

William Perry has a daughter who lives in West Side, but has been staying with relatives since Monday. He was at her trailer Wednesday trying to restore power, and said she was one of the lucky ones.

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Almost immediately after the storm, cries for help were answered as volunteers showed up to help rebuild, to collect money and needed items, and to provide moral support.

Avis Carpenter brought donations to help those left homeless by the storm's wrath. She said when something like this happens so close to home, it makes everyone realize itcouldhappen to them.

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In Greene County, the congregation of a battered church prepares to rebuild. The irony is, the Rouse's Chapel Baptist Church was remodeled less than a year ago, and its toppled steeple was dedicated just last month.

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Pastor Jessie Jones says, in the scheme of things, the building might have fallen, but therealfoundation is intact.

The church sanctuary is virtually intact, but serious damage was sustained to the front and rear of it. Based upon what he could see, Jones guessed repairs would probably cost $60,000 to $70,000

That, however, was before he talked to Contractor Charles Lewis.

Lewis says the tornado did damage that's not immediately visible.

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The approximately 350 church members will attend services at St. James Church in Farmville for the estimated six months it will take to rebuild.