North Carolina Bases Mostly OK After Severe Weather

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.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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