Pfizer Facility Ravaged By Act of God: Tornado
Devastating Tornado Strikes Nash County, North Carolina, Injuring 16 and Causing Widespread Destruction
On a fateful Wednesday afternoon, a powerful tornado wreaked havoc in Nash County, North Carolina, inflicting significant damage and leaving 16 people injured. The National Weather Service reported that the tornado touched down at 12:25 p.m. and persisted until 12:58 p.m., traveling a total of 16.5 miles along a northeast path.
— ABC11 EyewitnessNews (@ABC11_WTVD) July 20, 2023
Starting as an EF-1 tornado in Dortches, the storm gained strength and intensified to an EF-3 as it reached North Carolina Wesleyan College and the Pfizer facility, located near US-301 and the Edgecombe County line. Continuing its course, the tornado gradually weakened as it tracked into Edgecombe County, causing widespread destruction in its wake.
Emergency Services Director, Tony Cameron, expressed gratitude for the collaboration among various agencies and communities during the emergency response, emphasizing the importance of teamwork during such crises. Despite the immense damage witnessed, the number of injured individuals remained relatively low, a fortunate outcome given the scale of devastation.
— Darin Deveau (@darin_deveauWX) July 19, 2023
Notably, the Pfizer facility in Rocky Mount bore the brunt of the tornado’s force, suffering major damage with part of its roof torn off. Thankfully, no serious injuries were reported among the Pfizer employees, patients, and the community. The company stated that they are assessing the impact on production and are committed to rebuilding from the weather incident.
The path of destruction continued beyond the Pfizer facility, affecting a daycare in the vicinity. Fortunately, no injuries were reported among the children present at the time of the tornado. Cleanup efforts have already commenced, and the community is coming together to recover and rebuild.
Witnesses and residents recounted their experiences during the tornado’s rampage, with several homes sustaining significant damage. Homeowners, Bobbie Clark, Mark Frohman, and Joyce Payne, shared their stories of narrowly escaping harm, acknowledging the unpredictable and swift nature of the tornado’s destruction.
The tornado’s impact extended to the transportation network, causing all lanes of I-95 near Rocky Mount to be closed between Exits 138 (US 64) and 141 (NC 43) due to obstructions. However, thanks to the diligent efforts of response teams, the interstate was reopened shortly after 3 p.m., although heavy traffic congestion persisted.
Governor Roy Cooper expressed concern for the affected areas and spoke with the sheriffs of Nash and Edgecombe counties to assess the situation and offer state assistance. Duke Energy reported over 1,000 power outages around Dortches and south of Red Oak, but most of these were restored later that same day.
As the affected communities come to terms with the aftermath of this catastrophic event, efforts are underway to repair, rebuild, and support those impacted by the destructive force of the tornado.”