Picking Up The Pieces After Tornado in Wilkes-Barre Township

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Part of Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Township is blocked, closed to traffic as emergency workers and members of law enforcement guard the area.

"Listen, this is staggering, we have 800 to 1,000 people up here every single day. This is a commercial hub in Luzerne County, this is a beautiful area,” said Luzerne County Manager David Pedri.

There was a signup sheet for business owners trying to get a look at the damage the tornado brought.

Newswatch 16 got a tour inside Wilkes-Barre Township Commons, a shopping area that's been shredded by 130-mile hour winds.

Trees were uprooted, a car was flipped, debris was everywhere and entire buildings were wrecked.

The back of Barnes and Noble being taken down.

Newswatch 16 spoke with the last customer inside before the tornado hit.

"It was an eerie sense. I didn't hear a loud noise, my mom went closer to the window and she said she heard something that sounded like a train, but I heard it was just quiet, eerie, different than I expected a tornado to be,” said Lori Bantel of Swoyersville.

The owners of Ashley Furniture were on scene with an insurance adjustor, looking at what they lost.

"I imagine the stuff inside, from what I've seen, goes right in the dumpster, yeah, there's really nothing to salvage inside,” said Darrin Gallagher, co-owner of Ashley Furniture.

"We've been in this market here probably 20 years with Ashley furniture, if I rebuild here, it's gonna take at least a year to reopen, so I don't necessarily want to leave this market empty for a year, so I’m actually very actively seeking 20,000 or 30,000 foot facility, Babies R Us or that type of thing, where we can move in for a couple years, maybe permanent,” said Ashley Furniture co-owner Jim Everett.

Luzerne County leaders say they are not sure how long it will take but they will absolutely rebuild.

"We're all working in this together, Luzerne County always stands together,” said Pedri.

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