EROS — With all the issues happening in our country and around the world, when things happen locally it seems like the old saying “when it rains it pours.” On Thursday night at Eros, it rained, poured and an F2 tornado dropped into the mix.
Bruno-Pyatt basketball coach Noah Chagnon remembers his wife’s phone buzzing at 6:50 p.m. regarding a friend who was warning them of a storm approaching. A lot happened during a short time after that.
“You could hear it coming,” Chagnon recalled. “It sounded like really hard rain on a metal rooftop except with no rain. It was a super loud and constant ‘whooshing’ noise coming out of the clouds above.”
The activity or lack thereof from his dog was a strange sight that also caught his attention during all that was happening. Then his attention went back to what was going on outside.
“We were at the edge of it and I could see a wall in the clouds and the swirling wind was crazy,” he continued. “Then it went from really loud with no rain to an absolute downpour.”
The damage done to the community at Eros happened quickly as the coach expressed that the event took around 5 minutes from start to finish at his location.
Then the texts from friends and family came asking if everybody was ok.
Chagnon, who lives about a mile from the school, recalled things like bath rugs and interior furnishings strewn out and stuck in the fence lines along with a two-story house that had the roof and second story completely ripped off.
An evaluation of all the destruction took a while to determine as trees and other debris were scattered throughout the area and hindered vehicles from traveling down the road and driveways.
“Clayton Gilley, Travis Gilley and others in the community were out in the rain cutting logs to open up driveways to get to the neighbors and help those in need,” Chagnon mentioned. “People aren’t supposed to be together, but that’s what needed to happen to help the people in the community.”
Other houses and outbuildings had roofs torn off along with power lines down and trees laid over in the yards and fields. Luckily the path of the tornado was in a lightly populated area with lots of farmland and few residences.
A nearby valley was viewable from a bridge and observers were able to see the damage created from the swirling effects of the storm.
“Trees down in the creek were ripped up and torn up down the valley,” said the coach.
The rolling hills of the area made no difference as the tornado maneuvered its way toward the nearby school.
Once Chagnon was able to make his way to the Bruno-Pyatt school, the damage was apparent but not easily accessible with all of the damage scattered throughout the school and across the parking lots.
“The driveway between the gym and the parking lot had a power line down which initially kept us from getting around the building,” he noted. “The bus windows were busted out and there was insulation scattered all over the parking lot. However, the north side of the school had no damage.”
The tornado appeared to have moved in a northeastern direction catching the south side of the school where the gym is located and into the baseball field where it continued to wreak havoc.
“The top lip was curled up on the gym creating a hole in the southeast corner,” Chagnon assessed. “If you’re standing on the court, you can see daylight through the corner of the gym where the roof was peeled up.”
Volunteers were quick to try and get the hole covered in order to keep the water from getting into the gymnasium.
Another sign of the strength of the tornado was noticed when a dumpster that was previously located at the back door of the gym was found a good distance from its previous location.
“The dumpster was blown around 80 yards toward the other side of the outside basketball court,” Chagnon noted. “It had a huge dent in the side of it and appears to have broken the backboard on one of the goals as it was thrown.”
The Larry Gibby Field on the east side of the gym caught the brunt of the wind as the tornado exited the campus.
The right field foul pole was contorted and laid over along with the fence being shifted in many places. The press box and concession stand behind home plate at the baseball field were completely destroyed.
Chagnon described the final damage, “The lip on the roof of the press box flipped the top story over backward and busted off the staircase in the process.”
Power was restored on Friday evening and the community was quickly able to clean up areas so that repairs could begin as soon as possible.
“Luckily no one was severely hurt,” Chagnon finished. “And it’s good to see kids in the area and people from the community coming together to help each other.”