911 recordings detail search & rescue efforts after deadly tornado

SUSSEX COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – As the community reflects on the one-year anniversary of the deadly tornado disaster that struck Virginia in 2016, harrowing 911 recordings tell the story of the tragic events that unfolded in Waverly.

The back-and-forth between emergency operators and first responders details the search and rescue efforts in the wake of the disaster, from the initial reports of destroyed homes and downed trees to the discovery of three bodies.

Larry D. Turner, 50, Devine J. Stringfield, 26, and Ian T. Lewis, 2, were together inside a mobile home in Waverly. Shortly after 2:30 p.m. a tornado lifted the home up and slammed it across Highway 460, tossing and killing all three.


The storm filled the parking lot of Empowerment Temple Ministries with items from victims’ homes.

The damage to the building took nine months to repair. The Public Safety Coordinator for Sussex County told 8News affiliate WAVY that 54 properties were affected by the tornado. Some with only missing shingles, others were destroyed.


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