Tornado destroys businesses, flattens rental homes in Clinton

Posted April 18, 2011 7:16 p.m. EDT
Updated April 18, 2011 7:36 p.m. EDT

— Ted Herring and his brother spent the last 43 years building a service station business in Sampson County.

In less than 45 seconds Saturday, a tornado destroyed it. 

Herring rushed over to the business after a friend told him what had happened.

“It was kind of hard to take it at that time, then it took a little while for it to soak in, but it’s real,” Herring said Monday.

The Herrings are out of business and worry it could take months to rebuild.

“We got a lot of help down here today helping clean the mess up. Hopefully, we might get back in business,” Herring said.

The service station was one of many businesses and homes damaged in the city.

A tornado flattened several rental properties owned by Larry Carter and his wife.

“You just can't imagine how you felt when you looked to see everything just demolished,” Carter said.

Haskell Young, a church pastor in Clinton, was counting his blessings that his family was not home when a tornado hit his house, lifting up the roof. 

“It picked up and dropped it about 8-feet off the foundation,” Young said.

Neighbors throughout Clinton on Monday were helping each other, as crews continued working around the clock to restore power.

"The Lord blessed us, though. Nobody got hurt and nobody got killed," Carter said.