Tornado Update: Campground Owner Will Rebuild

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June 7, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Camper Virginia Darlow, 52, died when her trailer (above) was tossed into the air and crashed to the ground during a tornado that struck a campground in Brimfield, Mass., on June 1.

The June 1 tornadoes caused tremendous damage at Village Green Family Campground in Brimfield, Mass., where 95 of 97 camper trailers parked there were destroyed, one woman died when the camper she was in flipped up in the air and landed upside down and all the trees on what used to be a wooded campground were blown down.

The storms also caused substantial damage to more than 180 homes in this small town, and early estimates from town officials are that somewhere near 40 of them will have to be rebuilt, The Republican reported.

Virginia Darlow, 52, was killed at the campground and her boyfriend, Richard Reim, 51, suffered back and neck injuries when their camper flipped upside down.

Campground owner Lester Twarowski said there were a dozen campers and another 10 family members at the campground when the storms hit on Wednesday.

Having received a phone call warning of the storm's approach, Twarowski and his maintenance worker informed everyone and herded all but a few into the basement of a house on the property.

"We stood in an area the size of a pickup bed, huddling and hugging," Twarowski said.

On Monday Twarowski looked out over his campground, pointing to trailers lying on their sides or roofs, a 10,000-pound tractor that had been moved 30 feet and the denuded forest.

He also pointed out a few bottles of cleaning fluid that were outside a back door, which had not moved, and the roses still in bloom on a bush outside the house on the campground where his mother and father live.

"It picks and chooses," Twarowski said of the tornado.

More damage at the Brimfield campground.

After the storms, Twarowski said those on hand had to form human chains to help firefighters lift the few injured people up inclines.

Brimfield Firefighter Peter Fabrycki was one of those who responded to the campground and looked throughout the park for survivors.

"We were going around shouting, to see if anyone would call back," Fabrycki said. “The place was destroyed. We were crawling over sticks and debris and parts of trailers."

Twarowski said he plans to rebuild and will probably rent out a few campsites this summer.

He said he feels bad for those who left their campers at Village Green because some lost important belongings, but he is also grateful that the storms came when there were only a dozen campers and not on the previous weekend when there were 500 people there.

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