In Monson, 'Trying To Save Whatever We Can'

By Sarah Birnbaum

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June 3, 2011

Laura Yarbrough laughs with her friends as she puts on a red coat salvaged from her home in Monson, Mass. on Thursday, one day after it was leveled by a tornado.


MONSON, Mass. — Three tornadoes swept Massachusetts on Wednesday. Some of the gravest destruction was in Monson, Mass., where on Thursday residents were still trying just to process the damage.

Montana Phipps is looking at what’s left of her house, which is just the foundation, the garage roof and a refrigerator.  Montana, who’s 14, and her two sisters survived the tornadoes by going down to the basement and clutching a pole. She says in the middle of the storm, she looked up, and the house was rising above her.
 
“I just looked up from where  we crawled at, and I could see the house getting lifted. There was dust everywhere,” Phipps said.
 
Down the block, Laura Yarbrough is picking through the rubble.  
 
“We’re just trying to save whatever we can…Pictures…things that mean something to us,” Yarbrough said.
 
Her house looks like it’s been tossed up into the air, snapped into several pieces and then rearranged into a bizarre-looking tower. There are Legos, playing cards and kitchen utensils scattered about.
 
But Laura’s trying to look on the bright side.
 
“I’ll be telling the mortgage company I won’t be making the payment this month," Yarbrough said. "And I told the water guys that they got screwed too!"
 
Laura and her husband John are camping out on the rubble heap for the next few nights. They’re afraid of looters, though they admit there’s nothing left to take.
 
She isn’t sure what she’ll do next. She says she’s trying not to make any plans and just take it one day at a time.



IN SPRINGFIELD, TORNADO CLEANUP BEGINS

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