Tornado destroys Four Oaks family farm

April 19, 2011 3:34:50 PM PDT
A Johnston County farmer watched as his farm was destroyed and his pigs flew through the air.

"We trying to get some debris up and start cleaning up, bout all we can do right now," farm owner Rickie Norris said.

He's digging deep to find resolve after two tornadoes destroyed the family farm that had survived three generations over 150 years.

"We had to put a horse down, we had a couple of cows we had to kill and had broke legs and stuff we just had terrible, terrible stuff," Norris said.

Winds pummeled 17 buildings including six turkey houses. Damage is estimated at $1.5 million.

"Couple of cars under that shelter yonder, trying to get out right now," Norris added.

He says he doesn't know whether insurance will cover the cost.

About four miles up the road from the Norris farm things are a lot quieter, but the loss is just as painful.

"Went to the back bathroom and looked out the window and seen the debris just going up in the air and just flying every which way," storm victim Mike Stewart recalled.

Stewart's home needs roof repairs but old family heirlooms perished in a shed.

"I got old stuff my granddaddy had and my grandma's old furniture bedroom suits from back in 1930s and all that," Stewart said.

From Four Oaks to Micro and in between, Johnston County officials estimate $24 million in damage. Initially, 24,000 homes were without electricity, but as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Progress Energy has whittled that number to about 200.

Johnston County officials say homeowners should place piles at the curb or to the right of the road for pickup.

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