By Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — Many businesses on the west side of Washington were heavily damaged after a tornado swept through the area Sunday afternoon around 3:30.
Crackers Powersports, 400 W. National Highway, sustained severe damage to its entire building. The entire rear wall of the building collapsed, as well as the west-side of the building that housed a bass tournament fishing boat. The only thing keeping the rear portion of the structure from collapsing appears to be a column comprised of cinder blocks.
Mike Stainbrook, who lives near the business, said he came over to help employees anyway he could. “I didn’t know anyone here until last night,” said Stainbrook. “But I thought I’d come over and see if I could help.”
An employee of the business said that about 90 percent of the bikes, both motorcycles and mopeds, were removed from the building with little damage. An employee said most of the bikes will be able to be repaired and that they will try to salvage as many of the materials and other items in the building as they can.
Currently, parts and debris lay scattered on the garage floor. “It’s sad. It’s kind of like a part of me is gone. This was one job I was always happy to come to,” said the employee.
To keep looters from stealing merchandise from the showroom and the garage area, Stainbrook said he and the employee walked around the business all night with flashlights.
“We had to call the cops on some of them. We heard later on that the police were able to catch some looters near the Family Dollar,” said Stainbrook.
Reid’s Deli, 808 W. Nat’l Hwy., also sustained major damage and had trouble with people stealing items from the business. Marianne Harner, owner of Reid’s, said that hams and other food items were taken. The Reid’s building was severely damaged near its entrance and their coolers, located on the northeast side, were picked up and transplanted into the Washington Radio Center building. Some of the Radio Center’s exterior bricks cracked causing a portion of the exterior wall to collapse.
“I was standing here,” said station owner Dave Crooks, showing the spot he was standing inside when the coolers struck his building. Had it not been for the old bank safe and night depository boxes in the wall where he was standing, Crooks could have been severely injured. Luckily, he was uninjured and besides the cracked wall and a lot of broken glass, he believed the station would be able to be repaired.
“We’re currently out broadcasting on U.S. 50 near the towers at the little building with a couple of microphones and a CD player,” said Crooks.
The entire Washington Plaza on the west side, which is home to Hudson Office Supplies, Dollar General, Hometown IGA, Goodwill, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, among other businesses, received damage to the facade of many of the stores and the chiller from Dollar General’s portion of the building, was deposited in the Reid’s Deli parking lot.
Long John Silver’s drive-thru ordering system was also destroyed as well as other signage for restaurant.
The entire area from plaza to the Angle Inn, which lost shingles from its roof, was still scattered with debris, including heads of lettuce, pieces of meat and salad dressing cups, as of Monday morning although cleanup efforts were under way. Several volunteers and employees of the businesses damaged were sweeping up debris and doing as much as they could without electricity.