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Volunteers respond to heavy storm damage - later confirmed EF-1 Tornado
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By EMS Chief/PIO Andrew Spalding
July 3, 2015

On Saturday June 27th, 2015 an EF-1 tornado, with peak winds of 90 mph, touched down in the Morgantown area of Co. 14's first due. The tornado was on the ground for 2.1 miles and lasted from 16:28 to 16:36. The storm and tornado caused extensive damage to the immediate area, taking down at least 17 electric poles/wires, many trees that completely blocked roadways, took out sheds/garages, landed on homes damaging roofs, and winds that overturned an RV and a boat at the end of a pier. Across from the entrance to Morgantown Road, at and near the Christ Church of Wayside a barn collapsed, along with numerous trees that fell in the cemetary. Fortunately, there were no injuries resulting from the storm and tornado. The Newburg Volunteer Rescue Squad and Fire Department first responded to a report of a tree on a house on Waycross Pl in Morgantown. The first call was received at 16:34. Shortly after Rescue Engine 141 turned into the neighborhood, they were met with a tree that had snapped and brought wires into the roadway, preventing them from arriving at the dispatched scene. The crew quickly went to work clearing as much as they could. Citizens of the neighborhood were cutting their way out, as the firefighters were cutting their way in. When the Fire Chief arrived shortly after, additional units were quickly requested. Ultimately, many area departments/personnel and companies responded to assist.

Personnel on scene were: George Edelen - Fire Chief (Command), Steve Shifflett - Assistant Fire Chief (Operations), Andrew Spalding - EMS Duty Officer/PIO, Doug Hutchins - Special Operations Chief of Charles County, Chris Garrett - Assistant Special Ops Chief of Charles County (Staging), Joey Hoffman - Collapse Duty Officer 1, Chris Strybing - Deputy Chief of Bel Alton VFD, Bobby Higgs - Chief of Cobb Island VFD and EMS, Chris Thompson - Assistant Chief of 911 Fire/EMS Communications. Departments that responded alongside the Newburg Volunteers to assist with many firefighters and EMT's were: Bel Alton VFD, Cobb Island VFD and EMS, La Plata VFD, Marbury VFD, Waldorf VFD Co.'s 3 and 12, Benedict VFD, Potomac Heights VFD, the Charles County Dive Team, a member of the Ironsides Vol. Rescue Squad, NDW Dahlgren, NDW Indian Head, and the Cobb Island VFD Ladies Auxiliary for refreshments/food. Also on scene were: Sheriff Troy Berry along with several other police officers, SMECO, Charles County Roads, Verizon, American Red Cross, Department of Emergency Services with a light tower, PennLine, Pike, and Alexander's Tree Service. The storm and tornado displaced approx. 4-5 families, with which the American Red Cross assisted with accomodations for the night until families could return home. The road leading to the neighborhood remained closed for a little over 12 hours. Fire/EMS units operated on scene from approx. 16:30 hours until 23:30 hours before clearing. Many thanks to all who responded and helped mitigate this emergency we were faced with. Everyone pulled together and the teamwork from all agencies really prevailed as we pulled through as smooth and successfully as possible.

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