Cleanup Continues After Tornado in Luzerne County

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BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP -- Hundreds spent the day cleaning up their homes after a confirmed EF-2 tornado with wind speeds up to 120 mph touched down in parts of Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.

When Chris Oakes flew back to Luzerne County from Florida, he had no idea how bad it was at his home. His barn was destroyed. His equipment was damaged. His fence was strewn across the lawn.

"I think it's even worse than I thought," Oakes said. "I expected nothing and man, to see a life's work, all of a sudden it's in a pile of rubble. It's a kick in the you know what."

Cleanup will take quite some time, but Oakes is relieved everyone is safe. His 30 horses that usually stay in the barn were down south in Florida for the winter.

"The blessing is my wife and my kids are fine. None of the horses were affected, so at the end of the day, all of the stuff can be replaced and rebuilt. The family is good, so I'm good," he said.

Oakes was one of several dealing with damage in Bear Creek Township as PPL crews worked throughout the day to restore power. In some cases, crews had to use cranes to moves trees that toppled over.

Just up the road, Dennis Harrison is also counting his blessings. Other than the power lines to his home being ripped off, his house is OK.

"This tree has fallen here. The house, I didn't even lose a shingle on the roof. I can't believe it," said Harrison. "My poor neighbor he had a tree fall on his roof. It's amazing. I just can't believe it."

Knowing they have insurance lessens the burden, but cleanup will continue for weeks.

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