Tornado Part of Busy Week for Red Cross

PITTSTON TOWNSHIP -- It was a long weekend for those devastated by Saturday's tornado, but it was also a long weekend for the men and women from northeastern Pennsylvania who volunteer their time to helping those during times of emergency.

Last week, the American Red Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania responded to nine fires over the span of four days, and this week, the organization has been on scene throughout the entire weekend feeding and helping the families impacted by Saturday's tornado as well as the first responders who are working to get those families' lives back to normal.

A home on Chapel Road in Pittston Township is one of the most devastated after Saturday's tornado. The roof is gone and the American Red Cross has been there since the beginning to help out.

"Truckload after truckload of their belongings were taken down. It's all spread out in a warehouse with the heat on. Hopefully, we can salvage some of their personal possessions and some of those memories that you don't want to lose," said Red Cross executive director Bill Goldsworthy.

Melissa Fasciana lives just up the road. She lost her car and part of the roof of her garage in Saturday's storm, but after taking a walk to see the damage to her neighbors' home, she is counting her blessings.

"It was devastating. Our family went over to say that we were sorry. We just can't believe what happened to their house, especially when you receive that message. We actually didn't think a tornado would hit."

No one was injured and the family is staying with loved ones. Goldsworthy says they have been in good spirits.

"It doesn't set in until a couple of days. Then you say, 'Oh my God. I have nothing.' I just hope we could preserve a lot of the stuff we got in the warehouse for them."

With help from the Pittston Township Fire Department, Red Cross volunteers were able to get all of the family's furniture and belongings in that warehouse to dry out.

"Bless our volunteers," said Goldsworthy. "We have such dedicated volunteers. That's what the Red Cross is based on for northeast Pennsylvania. We have six employees and 400 and something volunteers.

With nine fires last weekend and a confirmed EF-2 tornado this weekend, Goldsworthy says his team of volunteers will be there no matter what happens next.

"They're a little worn out but, hey, if something happens today, you know we'll be there."

The American Red Cross put two families up in hotels the last two nights because they were without power and heat, but all power in the area is now back on. The Red Cross was also out with their canteen truck feeding the families affected and first responders all day Sunday.