Tor­nado causes death, de­struc­tion in east Bal­ti­more Co.

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By NI­COLE ROD­MAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @NRod­man_Ea­gle

Two peo­ple were killed af­ter a tor­nado led to a par­tial col­lapse at the Ama­zon dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house on Ho­labird Av­enue on Nov. 2.

Of­fi­cials have iden­ti­fied the vic­tims as An­drew Lind­sey, 54, and Is­rael Es­pana Ar­gote, 37. Both of the men, third­party con­trac­tors work­ing at the site, were trapped when a 50-foot wall col­lapsed in the storm. Lind­sey was found un­der de­bris Fri­day night; he was pro­nounced dead at the hos­pi­tal. Ar­gote’s body was found Satur­day morn­ing.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice (NWS) has con­firmed that an EF-1 tor­nado with winds of up to 105 mph trav­eled along a 2.5-mile path down Ho­labird Av­enue on Fri­day night.

An EF-1 tor­nado is clas­si­fied as hav­ing winds be­tween 86 and 100 mph.

The tor­nado also tore the roof off of a build­ing at the Ho­labird East apart­ment com­plex in the 1600 block of Four Ge­orges Court, dis­plac­ing 64 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 40 adults and 24 chil­dren.

The Red Cross as­sisted the res­i­dents, most of whom have found shel­ter with fam­ily and friends, ac­cord­ing to Bal­ti­more County pub­lic safety of­fi­cials. Res­i­dents are ex­pected to be dis­placed from their apart­ments for an ex­tended pe­riod of time.

NWS re­ported that the tor­nado touched down at 9:42 p.m. Fri­day night, over­turn­ing a trac­tor trailer on I-95 by the Fort McHenry Tun­nel. The tor­nado blew over a fence on South Newkirk Street be­fore trav­el­ing along Ho­labird Av­enue. Two large doors at Flexi-Van Leas­ing in the 4900 block of Ho­labird Av­enue were also dam­aged.

Ac­cord­ing to NWS, the tor­nado reached its peak, with winds of 105 mph, as it en­coun­tered the Ama­zon cen­ter.

“There it blew off the roof of a por­tion of the build­ing, in­clud­ing iron rafters,” the re­port noted.

As the roof blew off, a con­crete wall un­der it fell into the build­ing, trap­ping the two vic­tims.

In ad­di­tion, sev­eral trucks were blown over or over­turned com­pletely, signs and lights were blown over and car win­dows smashed by de­bris.

As it left Ama­zon, the tor­nado con­tin­ued its path down Ho­labird Av­enue, up­root­ing and dam­ag­ing trees be­fore lift­ing up as it reached Dun­dalk Av­enue.

The tor­nado again touched down briefly at the Ho­labird East Apart­ments, pulling the roof off of a build­ing.

Fol­low­ing the tor­nado, Gov. Hogan re­leased a state­ment via Twit­ter.

“Sad­dened to learn of 2 deaths fol­low­ing the col­lapse of a build­ing due to se­vere weather in South­east Bal­ti­more,” he wrote. “[Mary­land Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency] is co­or­di­nat­ing closely with Bal­ti­more City of­fi­cials, & state agen­cies are as­sist­ing the city as they clean up and re­pair the dam­age.”

He added, “My sin­cer­est con­do­lences go out to the fam­i­lies and friends of the vic­tims, and our ad­min­is­tra­tion stands ready to as­sist Bal­ti­more City and other ar­eas im­pacted by this se­vere weather in any way we can.”

ULYSSES MUNOZ/THE BAL­TI­MORE SUN VIA AP

Emer­gency per­son­nel look over dam­age, Satur­day, Nov. 3, 2018, af­ter a weather-re­lated build­ing col­lapse at an Ama­zon dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house on Bal­ti­more’s south­east side Fri­day night. Chief Ro­man Clark tells the Sun that a 50-foot wall col­lapsed late Fri­day at the Ama­zon Ful­fill­ment Cen­ter as a storm hit the area.

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