1 year later: Monson continues to rebuild after tornado
MONSON, Mass. (WHDH) -- One year after devastating tornadoes ripped through the western part of Massachusetts residents continue to rebuild and cleanup.
The people in Monson are resilient and credit each other as they recover from the June 1, 2011 tornadoes. Rubble is piled high in empty lots, but just beyond that there is hope and encouragement as new homes are constructed.
When the tornado barreled through, residents said it sounded like a freight train without brakes. It crushed everything in its path, demolished homes, snapped huge trees and chiseled a wide path through the heart of the town.
A year later new homes are standing where original buildings were pushed off their foundations and splintered, but there are constant reminders everywhere of the destruction.
Governor Patrick toured the community on Friday, and brought with him a $4 million check to rebuild Monson and nine other towns that were hit hard.
Piles of rubble serve as the backdrop for what remains in the town. Barren hillsides with a few houses scattered above the town. But that doesn’t stop residents in Monson from saying that life is good, because they managed to survive.
“As I got behind the refrigerator, that bay window blew up. It imploded. I took one step down stairs and the whole roof went along with 17 feet of this roof. One shot. I had a hold of the railing. If I hadn’t got a hold of the railing, would it have sucked me out of there? Possibly, because I probably took three or four steps all the way to the bottom of the cellar,” said Allan Curtis, a tornado victim.
“I’m done on the property, but I will never be done in this town of Monson,” said Diana Robbins, who isn’t rebuilding. Instead she is moving her family to Vermont. “This is home. This will always be home.”
Many homes in the area are newly built or still under construction.