NEWS NEWS AND MORE NEWS I am going to get all of my memories down, before I forget what I remember!. . . . quote from Stanley Forman

5Jun/110

Bears, Tears and Tornados!

One of the lucky ones as this home was deemed safe for occu­pancy. Less than a 1/4 mile from his home two peo­ple were killed by the tor­na­does in sep­a­rate incidents.

What a week, start­ing off on Sun­day cov­er­ing a fatal motor­cy­cle acci­dent. It was one of those smaller bikes or should I just say not a Harley. It was Sun­day morn­ing in Saugus, MA, around 6:30am when I took a run to a call that sounded serious.

When I got there Saugus Police had the area con­doned off and there was what was left of the bike. Half at one point of the area and the other half at the other side.  In the mid­dle was the driver’s seat and a hel­met with char marks from the result­ing fire after the bike went under a pickup truck and burst­ing into flames, the 20 year old dri­ver did not survive.

What was left of the burn­ing bike where a 20 year old was killed in Saugus.

The week before I was dri­ving north on Route One in Saugus when two of those bikes went fly­ing by me. The first one doing near 100 miles an hour almost tip­ping over as he made the curves. A few min­utes later I saw the bikes pulling into a restau­rant fur­ther up the road and I pulled in after them.

I rolled down my win­dow and iden­ti­fied myself as a news per­son and ask­ing them in no uncer­tain terms what they were doing dri­ving like that explain­ing in my way of explain­ing how many dead peo­ple I had seen as a result of crazi­ness like they dis­played. One of the rid­ers apol­o­gized and I said not to me pal but to your fam­ily after you are gone. When I asked the other if he wanted to die he shrugged his shoul­ders and walked away. I said don’t believe what Osama said you are not com­ing back.

On Mon­day of last week it got worse a 12 year old had drowned in the waters off of Hamp­ton Beach, New Hamp­shire. She went miss­ing around 8: pm Sun­day night after her and her 20 year old brother had gone for a swim.

Reporter Jack Harper and I caught up with the fam­ily Mon­day morn­ing and it was a home of a tragedy we walked into. The fam­ily could not have been nicer invit­ing us in to copy pho­tos of the young girl which were hang­ing on the wall then talk­ing to us about what happened.

Hamp­ton Beach after the 12 year old’s body was found.

The 20 year brother was dis­traught as he explained how he and his fam­ily decided at 5: pm there wasn’t much traf­fic and they should go to Hamp­ton Beach for some fun. Around 8pm the two of them decided to go for a swim. They did not real­ize how cold the water was or how stiff the cur­rent was flow­ing. In the water a cou­ple of min­utes and sud­denly his younger sis­ter was yelling for help and he was try­ing to reach her. He was blam­ing him­self for not being able to reach her and still hear­ing her shouts for help. He told us while try­ing and not suc­ceed­ing in keep­ing him­self com­posed how he became exhausted almost drown­ing him­self till a passerby pulled him to safety. It was awful to visu­al­ize and I am sure he will be keep­ing those awful mem­o­ries with him the rest of his life. A few hours later her body was dis­cov­ered about where she was last seen. She had come in with the cur­rents that took her away.

Wednes­day started off great chas­ing weather and quar­ter size hail. I did not get to catch up with the ice on my first run around nine in the morn­ing but the day con­tin­ued with a light­ning strike house fire in Andover then the call for a sight­ing of a bear that had been spot­ted the day before in Weston, MA.

I went from Andover to Way­land hop­ing I would be there for the cap­ture of the ani­mal who was shop­ping for food at the wrong restau­rant, neigh­bor­hood streets. There was sev­eral sight­ings that morn­ing and I was chas­ing police who were chas­ing the bear, lot of excite­ment and for me lots of fun as the only bears I had ever viewed were in captivity.

Jack Harper was once again going to be my part­ner and as the cops were search­ing the woods behind the house where the last sight­ing took place a call came in from neigh­bor­ing Fram­ing­ham they had the bear in sight about a mile from where I was.

I sped down route 126 not know­ing for sure where I was going but know­ing it was sup­posed to be just over the town line. I saw the enter­ing Fram­ing­ham sign and knew I was close but after dri­ving about a mile I decided I must have missed the street and yes I did on the first pass.

I spot­ted a police cruiser this time and got up to a fence where cops and civil­ians were yelling there it is there it is and a cou­ple of them con­vinced there were two bears. I jumped out of the car debat­ing whether to grab my tri­pod and decided I didn’t want to take the extra few sec­onds it would take and besides that car­ry­ing both a tri­pod and cam­era is hard on my back.

There I was look­ing through my black and white viewfinder with these peo­ple yelling there it is and no way I could spot it though the cam­era lens, a black bear, dark trees and leaves and no sep­a­ra­tion of colors.

I fig­ured I should get my tri­pod for the long wait for the bear to come out from the brush. While set­ting up the tri­pod and mount­ing the cam­era the group start­ing yelling again and I glanced to the left and there it was about 3 sec­onds of view and before I could shoot it (with the cam­era) it was gone. At least I got to see a bear in the woods.

We were wait­ing to do a live shot when the calls start­ing com­ing in about a pos­si­ble tor­nado in Spring­field. The weather con­di­tions where we were start­ing dete­ri­o­rat­ing and there was no way we could do a live shot, light­en­ing and wind were putting an end to that.

I was able to pull up one of the radio appli­ca­tions on my IPhone and lis­ten to fire calls in west­ern part of the State. There was con­fir­ma­tion of a touch down of at least one tor­nado in Spring­field which would later grow to three sep­a­rate tor­na­dos all being a cat­e­gory threes with gusts as high as 165 MPH.

Then the real fun began and believe me it wasn’t fun. Jack and I started head­ing West on the Pike for Spring­field about an hour away. It got very scary and Jack had been telling me about this great show on tor­na­dos he had watched the night before. At one point he said he wished he had not watched it as he now knew too much about them.

About 20 min­utes down the pike the sky got darker the rain heavy and the quar­ter size hail I missed in the morn­ing was pound­ing down on our vehi­cle bang­ing away like some­one was throw­ing rocks at us. We pulled over like many other vehi­cles and Jack did the first of three great phon­ers for the news reports. What a descrip­tion he gave as he put the viewer in our car watch­ing what we were seeing.

Con­tinue west we heard reports of a tor­nado trav­el­ling east par­al­lel to the Pike head­ing towards us as we headed west towards it. We were not sure what to do and were try­ing to fig­ure out where we take shel­ter if we see one. I think we both would have liked to see it as long as we could be safe. The only place I could see and it was kind of a joke was under a guardrail which I could never fit under and would prob­a­bly not help us anyway.

I would hear calls for build­ings col­laps­ing in Mun­son which ended up being one of the harder hit towns but Spring­field was our des­ti­na­tion as we knew it was a sure thing. After talk­ing our way into one of the rav­aged areas in the 200 block of Maple Street we could see how severe the dam­age was. Many trees uprooted, houses heav­ily dam­aged and peo­ple cling­ing to each other happy to have sur­vived the onslaught. It was tough to look at know­ing many of these peo­ple had not much to begin with and they lost what­ever was left.

Union Street, West Spring­field where a mother lost her life sav­ing her daughter.

That was day one of the storm and day two was worse as reporter Kelly Tuthill and I went to West Spring­field where two of the three peo­ple killed as a result of the storm lived. The first one we went to was a house that was no more where a 39 year old mother had grabbed her daugh­ter; put her in the bath tub with her and pro­tected her from the destruc­tion by lying on top of her. The 15 year old sur­vived with non life threat­en­ing injuries while the mother died doing what moth­ers do, try­ing to keep their chil­dren safe.

From there we trav­eled a few miles from that house to the home of a 23 year old man whose fam­ily had come from Rus­sia and his par­ents and eight sib­lings lived. He had been killed dri­ving down Main Street in West Spring­field after a tree fell on his vehi­cle crush­ing him.

We talked to his sis­ter who was a lovely young woman explain­ing to us what a won­der­ful brother he was and then talk­ing about watch­ing TVear­lier and hear­ing some­one had died after a tree had fallen. She told us how badly she felt for the vic­tim and his fam­ily. When she found out it was her brother her whole world was crushed.

The week finally ended for me in Mun­son where I saw more houses destroyed, peo­ple try­ing to sal­vage what they could which wasn’t much and hear­ing sto­ries of survival.

Total for week was five dead, scores of houses destroyed and sad­ness at every view.

 

 

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