50 homes damaged by storm
Three Catawba County areas were impacted by Tuesday's tornado-like weather as it whipped through various parts of the county.
The Catawba County Emergency Services is reviewing damages in Claremont, the Sherrills Ford and Terrell area, along with the Cooksville and Vale areas. Karyn Yaussy, with emergency services, said Wednesday during a press conference that at least 47 homes sustained minor to major damage, along with at least 10 businesses with major damage. Yaussy said the damage ranged from $40,000 to more than $1 million in repairs.
Claremont was damaged the most along Catawba Street, as well as power outages. Duke Energy reported majority of the outages were back in service as of press time Wednesday. At least four large trees were uprooted and overturned during the storm, leaving roots exposed and large mud holes.
Major structures in Claremont, such as Pierre Foods on East Main Street and First Baptist Church on South Depot Street, suffered roof damage. Also at Pierre Foods, crews worked to repair a storage building that had its walls ripped off, exposing dozens of boxes of prepackaged food.
To help residents in Claremont with damages, clean up and food, the Catawba Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross and the North Carolina Baptist Disaster Team were present in the city Wednesday.
"It takes a load off of your mind to know you're not alone in this," said the Rev. Dennis Richards of First Baptist Church in Claremont. "They'll be here until there's no more work to do."
In addition to nonprofit organizations, Claremont received assistance from its neighboring cities and towns, such as Conover and Catawba.
"We responded (to Claremont) with quite a few of our resources," said Conover City Manager Donald Duncan Jr.
Duncan said Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer was in Claremont on Tuesday with five of his officers and the city's Fire Chief Mark Hinson also went to the disaster area with 15 firefighters and three fire engines.
"I'm glad they were able to do that, and we were in a position to be able to help them," Duncan said.
Catawba Fire Chief Donald Robinson said because his town didn't have any reported damage, firefighters assisted Claremont most of Tuesday night, with some of his firefighters not getting any sleep Tuesday.
"You name it, we were doing it last night," Robinson said. "We were going by houses and checking to make sure (residents) were OK and not injured. It was basically a search and rescue. Whatever they needed, we were doing."
Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Bost said Harbor Circle in Terrell had 13 houses that had damage to docks, boats, vehicles or structures.
"It was one localized area," Bost said, adding the fire and rescue department discovered the damages at 12:08 a.m. Wednesday.
Bost said no injuries were reported and most of the residents were not at home during the storm.
About two hours after doing damage assessment on Harbor Circle, the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue assisted Bandys and Catawba fire departments at about 2 a.m. Wednesday with a barn fire on Sherrills Ford Road.
Bandys Assistant Fire Chief Dustin Ladd said there were two structures involved in the fire. When firefighters arrived on the scene, the barn was fully engulfed and destroyed by the fire. However, crews were able to save a workshop sitting beside the barn. Ladd said it was partially destroyed, but still standing.
Catawba County Fire Marshals are investigating the cause of the fire. There were no injuries.
The Bunker Hill and Foard feeder school districts were delayed two hours Wednesday because of damage in roadways.
Catawba County Schools Public Information Officer Carleen Crawford said there were several trees and power lines down in the area.
"For the safety and security of the students, delays were to be sure the roads were clear for buses," Crawford said, adding some places in Bunker Hill were not accessible to buses because the roads were closed.
However, the only school to report damage was Banoak Elementary School. Crawford said the school has minor damage to the roof where a metal trim was destroyed. The school's cable lines were also out of order Wednesday.
Because Claremont Elementary School was closed Wednesday, the students and staff will make the day up Friday when the remainder of the school system observes a teacher work day. Crawford said Claremont students will be released at 12:30 p.m. Friday.
O-N-E Staff Writer Jordan-Ashley Baker contributed to this report.