Clean up and rebuilding begins in Murphy, NC
CHEROKEE CO. NC (WRCB) -- Cherokee County in North Carolina was not spared by Friday's tornado outbreak. One of the hardest hit areas was in Murphy. "We're really fortunate that no one got killed," says resident Billy Derryberry.
Cherokee County Schools Supt. Stephen Lane watched from a distance as the storms rolled through. "I watched the tornado from my home. I could see the lightning coming up and saw the funnel come down so I knew it was coming down to this area," Lane says.
Murphy middle and high school sustained major damage but its what's on the inside that has Dr. Lane calling off classes for high school students until further notice. "Our concern is that the cafeteria, which has asbestos insulation that was capsulated, the capsulation has broken and that asbestos is in the cafeteria," says Lane.
Lane says classes will begin as soon as crews can seal off the asbestos. However, for businesses like Wayne's Feed Store, which was completely destroyed, getting back up and running could take a little more time.
"It puts a hurt on us, I mean this right here," says Derryberry pointing at what's left of the business.
"I had to go get some hog feed. You got to rebuild, its rough," says resident Johnny Hartness.
The National Weather Service confirmed an EF2 tornado with winds up to 130 mph touched down in Murphy
Businesses on Andrews Rd. felt the brunt of the storm. Destruction can be seen for half a mile but with hard work and unity, the community is coming together one building at a time.
"At midnight on Friday I did not think we were going to be this far along by now, but with everybody pulling together as a team we've been able to do that. We're thankful that everybody has been able to help us out," Lane says.
Although no injuries were reported county officials say 82 homes were damaged or destroyed and 46 businesses were damaged or destroyed.
Murphy Mayor Bill Hughes expects the damages throughout the city and county to be "in the millions."