WAVERLY, Va. (WAVY) – Residents in Waverly worked to clean up the mess from a deadly tornado Thursday. Power crews repaired fallen wires and workers with heavy machinery hauled away truckloads of debris.
Crushed beneath a fallen tree, was William Brown’s truck.
“I wasn’t really paying attention to anything but getting to where I wanted to go, and then out of nowhere, boom! Everything stopped,” Brown said.
The crack of the tree on his truck during the tornado knocked him unconscious. Later, he was able to pull himself out.
“I said that God really loves me. He kept me around for a little longer, and I see the potential of destruction, and the only thing I received is a ligament torn in the back of my neck so I consider myself blessed,” he said.
Not far from where Brown’s truck was stuck, a child car seat was in a ditch. Scattered cinder blocks outlined the place where a mobile home used to be.
“That house was lifted up. I saw it get lifted up and the only thing I was trying to hold straight on the road because I didn’t know the wind was going to blow me off of the road. It was just that strong…I’m just grateful to still be upright and breathing and only have a few pains,” Brown said.
Governor Terry McAuliffe traveled to Waverly Thursday to get a look at the damage himself and meet with the victims. He said there were 13 reports of tornadoes, but they had not been confirmed. He estimated the damage to be at least $11 million.
“We are lucky this did not happen in the middle of the night…I think it’s important to come down and see what actually is needed to make sure we can get the state and federal resources in here as fast as possible,” he said.
McAuliffe said the family of the three people killed would need a lot of help.
“It’s a very, very tough situation. I would just ask all Virginians and folks who may be watching us that they need help, so we’re going to stand up and accept some donations. The family doesn’t have the money to bury their child. I mean it’s very sad. They have no money for clothes. They have nothing. They lost everything. Whatever cash they had went off in the wind,” he said.