Work to repair extensive storm damage in Berks continues

Route 662 in Fleetwood area remains closed

Residents of the Fleetwood and Kutztown areas of Berks County continue to pick up the pieces, two days after a severe storm caused widespread damage.

Several people, with tools in hand, gathered on a farm in Richmond Township on Monday to work on a building that had some of its siding bent and blown off by the strong winds.

"It would look like something out of the movies," said William McClintock, who watched in horror as a barn roof there shot up into the sky.

He'd parked his van in a barn for shelter Saturday. Moments later, he said the winds picked up.

"I looked out the side of the pole barn to see what was going on, whether it was a tornado or what was happening, and just then, I saw the whole roof of the lean to barn just lift off," McClintock said.

In one piece, the roof next to him flew up into the air.

"It all settled down. I walked out and saw all the telephone poles up and down the road snapped off," McClintock said.

Those winds also blew apart an old airplane hanger at the Kutztown Airport in Maxatawny Township. Its roof landed on a nearby home.

"Destroyed everything," said Janie Weida. "We lost it all. No words can describe it. It's gone. It's gone."

"It's horrible," said Weida's husband, Glenn. "I wouldn't wish it on anybody."

The couple and their neighbors said they were thankful no one was injured.

"Everyone was really lucky," said Marcus Simonetti, a neighbor.

More evidence of how strong those winds were can be seen several miles to the south, on Route 222 in Maidencreek Township, where a metal billboard frame was bent board, with the sign's front now resting almost parallel to the ground.

A stretch of Route 662 also remained closed Monday because of downed poles and power lines. Those wires trapped some residents inside their homes.

"I looked out the window. All the telephone polls in our lawn and all the wires across here, we couldn't get out," said Mary Wagner.

FirstEnergy crews from far and wide have traveled to Berks County to help Met-Ed crews make the repairs.

"Worst storm damage I've experienced here in Pennsylvania," said Elizabeth Wagner, who was still without power Monday afternoon.

As of 4:45 p.m. Monday, only 77 Met-Ed customers still had no electricity. All but three of them are in Richmond Township, although residents along Route 662 told 69 News their power was restored around 4 p.m.

"It was wicked wind. It was really fierce. I've never seen wind like that before. Thank God that nobody got hurt," McClintock said.

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