EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (WGGB) — Twisted doors, snapped cable lines litter an indoor soccer field exposed to the wrath of Mother Nature after an EF-1 tornado tore East Windsor’s Sports World to pieces. Camp Director Kathy Russotto rushed her 34 campers and counselors out of the dome just moments before it collapsed.
“The wind was picking up so I put them under the tables and within 30 seconds of them going under the tables, we heard a big noise and looked out and the dome was not here,” Russotto said. “Gone.”
“I started seeing the lights shake and then the dome start shaking and so that’s when I like ran and went to the door. that’s Right when I got out, I heard a big pop and I jumped under the table,” camper Dillon Mirando said. “Yeah it freaked me out.”
The National Weather Service estimates the tornado traveled 2.5 miles at top speeds of 86 MPH. Pieces of the dome blew off, and landed on I-91, pretty much shutting down the highway for part of the afternoon, but that wasn’t all the highway debris. Witnesses say a Sports World scoreboard was tossed up over all six lanes of I-91. Nets from tobacco fields miles away did the same.
“You could see them spinning up in the air and we were just looking up to our left like ‘Oh my God, look at that,’ you know what I mean,” witness Kyle Morton said. “It was just a freak thing.”
Miles away a tractor-trailer was tossed on its side outside Wal-Mart and tree crews worked to open roads so power crews could access downed lines. Police report no serious injuries from the tornado, something that parents of sports world campers say is nothing short of a miracle.
“They saved their lives. I really believe that because from what I see here, the dome and I know how heavy this dome this is because we put it up, I was here helping put it up, there wouldn’t have been any kids,” Russell Mattesen said.
“They could look out and see daylight as opposed to the structure and I just congratulated them for listening to instructions and being timely and paying attention and the counselors got them in right away too,” Russotto said. “We had a great staff and the kids were perfect.”
As of midnight Tuesday, less than 200 Connecticut Light and Power customers were without electricity.