Worker Trapped Inside Panera Bread When Storm Hit

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WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- It was a scary scene inside Panera Bread in Wilkes-Barre Township. Sarah Smith was working inside Panera Bread when Wednesday night's storm hit.

"The lightning started getting brighter and brighter and the alarms when off on our phones for the tornado warning."

Smith was just starting her overnight shift as a baker when heavy winds wreaked havoc in and around the Arena Hub Plaza taking down power lines.

"As soon as I saw the sparks, I ran as fast I could," Smith said.

Smith ran to get inside Panera Bread's walk-in cooler.

"The whole front of the store smashed out and locked me in the cooler," she said. "I was trapped in the cooler and a water pipe burst, so water kept coming in. The water was up to my knees. I called my mom to tell her that I loved her I didn't know if I was going to make it out."

Her mother Paulette Smith could not believe what she was hearing.

"It was screaming and all I could hear is, 'I'm trapped and I can't get out,' and, 'I love you,'" said Paulette Smith. "It was frightening. It was horrible. I just lost my son four years ago."

She called 911 and rushed to the restaurant.

"I don't know if I did the speed limit but I got here quick," said Paulette.

A coworker helped pull Sarah to safety. In the daylight, the family returned.

"It's worse than I thought," Paulette said.

From Skycam 16, you can see one business after another shredded by the storm which hit during a time when most businesses here were closed.

Emergency crews say six people were treated for injuries.

"I'm just thankful to be alive, honestly. That was the most traumatic thing that's happened to me," Sarah said.

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