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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Barn Near Tamaqua Crushed by Storm Tuesday

Harry note - Lulu lived in Walker Township as a teenager. A freak storm demolished this barn on Tuesday night. It was just up the road from her home.

Walker Township, Schuylkill County-- Tuesday night's wicked weather caused a lot of damage in our area. Destructive winds toppled a barn on Valley Road in Walker Township-- near Tamaqua. Now, the owners of Donnon's Dairy Farm are left to figure out their next move. George and Debbie Donnon say this was unlike anything they've ever seen. A storm so quick, if you blinked-- you'd miss it. And yet so powerful, it has threatened their very livelihood. The Donnons were just returning from a softball game Tuesday evening, when Mother Nature's wrath descended full-force on their farm. Debbie Donnon recalled, "We saw the storm coming and it got like a dead calm. And all of a sudden this wind, this ungodly wind, hit. It took my husband-- threw him. The roof came off, hit the street, and then it just crashed, everything just crashed down." The Donnons worked quickly to rescue about 20 cows-- many with newborn calves-- that were being housed in the barn. Only one was seriously injured. Many people, like Charlie Bridgen, drove by Wednesday morning-- in awe of the damage done by the brief storm. Bridgen, of Schuylkill Township, noted, "I can't believe it because last night the storm wasn't that bad. It was a lot of heavy rain, but I didn't see no lightning or thunder or nothing. It (the barn) is wiped out, and they're a hard-working family. I hate to see it happen to them guys, you know?" The winds, which only lasted about 15 seconds, were so strong that George Donnon says a massive wagon that was sitting next to a telephone pole was pushed all the way down next to a silo-- more than 100 feet away. The Donnon's farm is home to a total of about 600 cattle. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment were also buried when the barn collapsed. The Donnons say they're extremely appreciative of all the neighbors who rushed to their aid. Debbie added, "I just want to thank everybody, because if it wasn't for them... I mean it really, really helped. And our kids, they really helped." The Donnons tell Eyewitness News-- most of all-- they are just thankful that no one was hurt. They do have insurance on the barn, and say they have every intention to rebuild and continue on at the dairy farm they've run for more than a decade.

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