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Fridley Tornado: The Day After, on Hughes Avenue

Many trees uprooted, several homes uninhabitable.

One of the hardest-hit parts of Fridley was alive with the sounds of recovery work Monday after . 

There is a constant humming, like a swarm of wasps: the buzz of chainsaws coming from all directions. And the human activity is bee-like too in its purposefulness, with power company and cable company crews, tree-trimmers with their wood-chipping trailers, insurance adjusters and neighbors all out doing what they need to do in the Fridley streets.

'Better Get Downstairs'
Dennis Nihart said he was watching the wind through his front window on the 5100 block of Hughes Avenue Sunday afternoon.

"I saw a bunch of insulation flying around, and then I saw some branches come off the old tree in the yard," Nihart recalled Monday. "My wife said, 'We better get downstairs.'" 

Nihart said everyone was safe, "and everything else can be fixed."

'Don't Touch a Thing'
A few doors down is the residence of Tony Mack, who has lived there for 55 years. He said he was frustrated because so many tree-trimming contractors had come to see him but the insurance comapany wouldn't give him the OK to have any work done.

"They said 'Don't touch a thing until we've seen it,'" Mack said. "Meanwhile I've got more water damage all the time."

Mack said he was without power except for "the neighbor's got a generator and we ran a line over to my place. I've got my Fridgidaire plugged in so I won't lose all my food and I've got one light inside [the house]."

Mack said he was in his garage when the storm hit. "My son called and said, 'You better get the hell out of there.' So I went down into the basement. I could hear a big noise [when the tree fell on his house], but I didn't know it my house."

Historical Perspective
Mack had a historical perspective about this storm, having gone through the Fridley tornadoes of 1965. 

"This was nothing compared to that. That one sucked everything out of the building and up through the roof of the FMC plant and scattered typewriters and adding machines all up and down Main Street," he said. 

"What can you do about Mother Nature? You can't fight it. If it comes, it comes; there's not much you can do about it."

Tina May 24, 2011 at 07:55 PM
That car is my roomate's.. he just got it 3 weeks ago and has minimum ins coverage. poor guy.
Chris Steller May 24, 2011 at 08:08 PM
Tina, so sorry to hear that about your roommate's car.

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