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Schools open but work remains

Mountain Top area gets most of its power back but officials say lots needs to be done after storm.

WRIGHT TWP. – School’s on this morning for students in the Crestwood School District and St. Jude School, but the district, like many other property owners affected by the tornado that rolled through on Friday, still has some damage to deal with, according to Superintendent Richard Duffy.

Though power was restored by late Sunday evening to the schools and most other customers in the area, a PPL spokesman said about 800 customers remained without power. Those without power should have it back by early this morning, but PPL expects to address scattered outages.

Stanley Ronald Gutkowski III, the township’s emergency management coordinator, said the major problem was tree-related damage that impacted buildings and knocked out power and phone service.

He said he had heard reports of about half a dozen homes damaged by the tornado, which started around 5 p.m. in Hollenback Township and ended in Fairview Township, stirring up 120 mph winds at its peak near the Mr. Z’s store on state Route 309, according to the National Weather Service.

Gutkowski spent most of Saturday trying to get power restored to the 100-resident Smith Nursing Home on South Main Road, which couldn’t create enough power from its backup generator to keep the heat on. Power has been returned to the facility.

Various properties in the township were reported damaged. Two venting units were ripped from the roof of Crestwood High School, creating gaping holes in the ceiling and causing water to rain down on the gymnasium.

The track at the football field was damaged, the roofs were ripped off the dugouts at the baseball field and several windows were broken at the high school and middle school, Duffy said.

About $35,000 was spent over the weekend patching the high school’s roof.

Just down the road, windows shattered, benches flew and the Mr. Z’s store fell into chaos when the F2-rated tornado came by just after 5 p.m. Farther down, the roof was blown off a house at the intersection of Rockledge Drive and state Route 309, Gutkowski said .

Donald Zampetti, the president of the township board, said the township has declared a state of emergency to qualify itself for any disaster relief funding.

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