Willoughby residence

A mass of debris left in the wake of Wednesday night’s tornado strike stacks around the Willoughby residence at 95 Sulphur Wells Academy Road. That side of the house was crushed from the harsh winds and one of two trees that struck the building, after the family had already evacuated the area.

 

Wednesday night’s severe weather impacted a large portion of the northern and eastern parts of Henry County, in terms of damage to structures in the most hard-struck areas. Seemingly every yard on Sulphur Wells Academy and Friendship roads had at least one broken tree resting in the yard or on the roof Thursday. 

In one resident’s backyard, a shovel was lodged into the trunk of a fallen tree and wedged in the dirt. A wooden beam had somehow pierced cleanly through the door of someone’s wooden shed, as if someone had thrown it like an ax. Parts of some rooftops in the area were torn and flung far away. Countless trees on Friendship Road were split cleanly in half, both horizontally and vertically, seemingly just from the wrath of the harsh winds.

“Friendship Road looks like a war zone,” said Paris Fire Lt. Johnny Henderson, whose home at 245 Sulphur Wells Academy Road suffered damage from a tree falling on the back of it. “I had just gotten off work at about 9 p.m. while it was still raining, I got back here and saw my chicken coop destroyed and the tree was already on the house.”

H&B Tree Services was in the area cutting tree limbs off of the house, with workers anticipating that they weren’t stopping anywhere anytime soon.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much damage condensed into just one general area like this,” said Ken Burns of H&B.

The front entrance of the home of Ann and Pat Overcast at 125 Sulphur Wells Academy Road was completely barricaded by a tree that had fallen on the front of the house and limbs that made it impossible to maneuver and get into the house from the front. The two were inside the house while the storm came through, but were uninjured.

“Pat was already asleep and I was watching the news talk about which way the wind was going and I heard noise from the other room. I walked over to the kitchen and saw part of a tree in the house,” said Ann Overcast. “We learned that Henry County is full of wonderful, helpful people. We’ve already had a few people offer us a place to stay, some brought food here, Red Cross has already come by. We’re thankful that Henry County has so many people that want to help, there’s plenty of times where you don’t expect that anyone’s going to care.”

 

TREE DAMAGE IS SEVERE

The home of Glenn Willoughby and his family at 95 Sulphur Wells Academy Road had two large trees fall onto it, and sustained scattered damage inside the house, with chunks of tree and debris surrounding it. The family left the area once it became clear that the storms were going to be severe.

“It’s just a part of life. In the end, we’re all alive and that’s all we can ask for,” said Willoughby.

Lakeway Auto Sales, which stood at the intersection of Sulphur Wells Academy Road and Highway 79 northeast of Paris, looked as if it had been detonated from the inside with the roof collapsing on vintage antique cars that were in the building. 

Several people who were roaming to see the extent of the damage, home owners and good Samaritans alike, were confident that this had to have been a tornado strike. 

Along with Sulphur Wells Academy and Friendship roads, Buchanan, Antioch Harbor and Log Cabin roads had homes confirmed to be damaged from the storms as well.

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