Storm damage, recovery exist side by side
Posted April 22, 2011 7:13 p.m. EDT
Updated April 22, 2011 7:44 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Along Sheffield Road in east Raleigh, the difference between storm damage and recovery can be measured in blocks or even the width of the street.
Timothy Crandell remembers running to his porch as a tornado snapped trees in the neighborhood between Glasscock Street and Milburnie Road last Saturday.
"I'd never seen the wind swirl like that before. It was amazing to me," Crandell said Friday.
He called 911 as dark clouds passed overhead, telling a dispatcher that the street was "destroyed."
"The whole street, everybody (has damage)," he said in the 911 call. "Everybody has trees on the house, the cars, everything."
Six days later, the yards are clear, and crews have already picked up piles of debris.
"It's pretty incredible. It was a mess. It looks like a new town right now," he said.
Across the street, however, stories of heartbreak continue to pile up like so many fallen tree limbs.
"I do still feel like I'm drowning. I need to stop coming back here because I'm just punishing myself," Lindsay Bortle said.
Looters have ransacked her home, which was damaged by falling trees.
"I don't know what kind of conscience they have," she said, noting one even took time to grab a ham biscuit. "He left the plate on the counter with the fork."
Bortle and her daughter escaped unharmed. They ran from a bedroom when they heard the family room ceiling cave in, and a tree crushed the bed they had been on moments before.
"Somebody is up there watching over us because, me and my 8-year-old being in the house, (things) could have gone a totally different way," Bortle said.
She has contacted her insurance company and met with an inspector from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin the process of rebuilding.
On Friday, she was searching for old pictures to provide positive memories.
"The smallest things mean the most right now," she said.