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North Carolina Bases Mostly OK After Severe Weather

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2011 – Operations on Fort Bragg, N.C., are “pretty fluid” today after severe weather damaged buildings and cut off power to the installation and surrounding communities over the weekend, Fort Bragg officials said.

A tornado touched down in Fayetteville, N.C., April 17, ripping through several neighborhoods and roads near Fort Bragg.

Benjamin Abel, a spokesman for Fort Bragg, said the storm had little impact on the post’s residents and facilities. Base officials ordered a two-hour work call delay for civilian employees today, while troops are expected to report for duty at 1 p.m., he explained.

Abel said he expects normal operations to resume very soon.

“We had some damage to maintenance facilities and on our airfields,” he said. “Nothing major, though; no housing areas have been affected, no barracks have been affected -- child care centers [and] all the things that deal with the day-to-day health and safety of the post -- have not been affected.”

Fort Bragg had “lost power for about 24 hours, but we had no deaths or significant injuries to post residents,” Abel added.

However, the damage in surrounding Cumberland and Hoke County communities was much worse. A Cumberland County news report stated that at least 167 homes were destroyed, while another 144 were damaged. As of 7 a.m. this morning 11,000 homes in Cumberland County, which includes the city of Fayetteville, were without power.

The tornado formed over the Wayside area of Hoke County and hit ground on North Reilly Road, destroying homes for more than a mile to Yadkin Road, according to reports. Both roads feed into Fort Bragg access control point gates. Portions of both roads are closed to vehicle traffic, including the Fort Bragg gates. The Butner Road and All American Express Way gates onto Fort Bragg remain open.

Fort Bragg officials do not know yet exactly how many Fort Bragg families who lived along the tornado’s path lost their homes. Individual units are supporting displaced families, Abel said, which are estimated to be very few.

“There’s no estimates on how many Fort Bragg families are displaced,” Abel said. “It’s something we’re trying to figure out right now, but some areas had some pretty significant damage, so we have to assume there are some Fort Bragg families affected.”

Fort Bragg officials’ priority now is working to establish a one-stop shop for soldiers and their families to access legal services, insurance claims services, Army Community Services and Army Emergency Relief, Abel said.

“We want to make sure we get them all to one central location on post shortly to assist families in need,” he added.

At the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, N.C., located about 90 miles east of Fort Bragg, Marine Corps Lt. Nicole Fiedler, a base spokesperson, said troops and civilians are reporting for duty as normal after a separate tornado touched down in the Tarawa Terrace housing community there April 17.

There are some displaced families, according to a Camp Lejeune press release, which reported that 40 to 60 homes sustained significant structural damage, while another 40 to 60 homes sustained minor damages, such as broken windows and torn siding.

Power has been fully restored on Camp Lejeune and services such as the post exchange and commissary are up and running, Fiedler said. All access control points are open, she added.

 

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