‘All You Heard Was the Roar': Mass. Residents Recall Deadly Tornado 10 Years Later

Tuesday was the 10th anniversary of a major tornado that left a path of destruction dozens of miles long in Massachusetts

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Tuesday marked 10 years after a deadly tornado ripped through parts of western and central Massachusetts, but people in the area have not forgotten.

"You could hear it like a railroad train coming through there," said 91-year-old Fisk Bacon of Monson.



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Bacon says he remembers June 1, 2011, like it was yesterday.

"We saw it coming so we went down in the basement," said Bacon.

The powerful tornado spun dark clouds, torrential rain and hail, carving out a nearly 40-mile path of destruction from Westfield into Charlton.

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It's a scar that can still be seen from the air and the ground, even a decade later.

"It was something, and I don't want to go through it again," said Bacon.

Amazingly, the home Bacon's lived in since he was born was still standing. But as the twister hopscotched across the community, many of his Monson neighbors weren't so lucky.

"All that debris, it was gone," said Deborah Meacham.

Looking at photos of the aftermath that destroyed Meacham's home brought back tears. She was grateful she was trapped at work when the tornado hit, but it still left her with scars.

"Hopefully, it never happens again. You never know. But when a storm comes up, I panic, I do," said an emotional Meacham.

The path of destruction continued on to Brimfield – with a direct hit on the Village Green Campground.

"The tornado went right over the top of this motor home and picked it up and threw it about maybe 60 feet," said Village Green Campground owner Lester Twarowski.

A woman riding out the tornado in the motor home was killed; several others were injured and the campground was destroyed.

In the years since, Twarowski has rebuilt with help from the community, but he says he will never forget the terror of that day.

"We had about 25 people screaming bloody murder, and you couldn't hear them," he said. "It was like a movie that lost its sound, all you heard was the roar."

The trees may have started to grow back and many of the homes and businesses here may have been rebuilt, but the memories of the day the tornado hit these neighborhoods will never be forgotten.

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