Mechanicville remembers devastating tornado 18 years later

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MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Tuesday marks 18 years since a devastating tornado touched down in Mechanicville.

The severe storm left people homeless as their houses were reduced to rubble. But through tragedy they’ve rebuilt.

“It sounded like a freight train coming,” Dominick Clements said.

On May 31, 1998, Clements was one of many people who were working at DeCresente Distributing Company. He, and his coworkers, hid in a break room when the tornado passed through.

“It was terrible,” Clements said. “I couldn’t believe the way it looked.”

It was shortly before 4:30 p.m. when wind gusts picked up and clouds became dark as night.

“It got pitch black out,” Andrew DeVito said. “It got very dark out.”

Within seconds, they were able to find out just how bad the strong tornado was.

“One of the overhead doors came flying by the break room,” DeVito said. “It was very scary.”

Several of their trucks had been flipped over.

“Well, when I seen it coming, yes, I was scared, but like said, in a matter of 15 to 20 seconds, it was over,” Clements said.

The storm lasted 30 minutes. When it was over, the Mechanicville community was left with a lot of damage and power outages.

“There was a couple pieces of trees stuck in my car,” DeVito said.

Families looked to each other for support as they watched their homes turn to rubble and collected remnants of their memories.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years,” DeVito said.

The tornado touched down by Route 67. No one died in the tornado, but some of the areas hardest hit were Viall Avenue and DiSienna Furniture, which still has parts of its building missing from the tornado.What others are clicking on:

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