Damage clean-up in St. Albans. (Photo/Chris Lawrence)

ST. ALBANS, W.Va. — Debbie Cameron was outside her home along MacCorkle Avenue in St. Albans talking to her mother when Tuesday’s storm rolled in.

“I actually saw the tornado spinning on the other side of the house. When I realized it was a tornado, I ran inside to get the girls and tell them to get into the basement,” Cameron told MetroNews a day after the incident.

Inside, her two friends thought she was joking.



“Debbie comes in and tells us she saw a tornado and we kind of laughed it off, but Vanessa and I were standing by the windows and they just shattered,” said Lanie Wells. “We ran through the glass to get to the basement.”

Wells added all three suffered cuts to their feet and arms from the flying glass and once in the basement, could hear the house coming apart above them.

“It was just wind blowing really loud, glass shattering, and wood hitting the house. That’s all we could hear,” said Cameron.

“It was like something out of a movie, especially as we’re going through the house and every window was busting as we passed it. It was pretty crazy,” added Wells.

They spent about 10 minutes in the basement riding out the storm. It turned out the roof of a neighbor’s house had come off and the debris struck their house and others nearby. One of them the home of Eric Allen.

Allen and several others were cutting up the debris from the old sun porch and loading it into a dump truck to be hauled away. Plywood covered every window as well as a hole created by a flying 2 x 4 from the neighbor’s home.

Not far away in Charleston’s South Hills, Kit Francis told a similar story.

“It was nice with just a little rain and a little wind, then all of a sudden we were drenched. Then interestingly everything fell up hill,” said Francis.

Three utility poles on his street were laying across the road with tangled lines still attached and dangling in every direction. Trees were uprooted and tree limbs littered the street and the yards of neighbors. The sounds of chainsaws and generators echoed through the whole South Hills community.

“We have no power and we can’t get out,” laughed Francis.