14 injured in Sampson County following severe weather

CLINTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Fourteen people were injured and homes and buildings have been destroyed following a severe thunderstorm in Sampson County Monday night, county officials said.

A severe thunderstorm tore though Sampson County around 11:30 p.m. Monday and left a trail of damage in its wake.

Officials said fourteen people were injured in the storm. Two people were transported to the hospital for treatment by EMS and a third person was transported to the hospital by a sheriff’s deputy, officials said. Several others took themselves to the hospital.

Sampson Regional Medical Center’s nursing supervisor Deborah Philyah said that they had nine people come to the ER for weather-related injuries. Most injuries were minor such as bruises and cuts. The first person came into the hospital around 11:30 p.m. There’s currently no one in the ER with weather-related injuries, Philyah said.

In addition to the 14 people injured, there were also at least 12 reports of “structures damaged,” which can mean anything from a tree falling on a house to a mobile home being destroyed.

One woman, Brenda Smith, of Hobbton, told CBS North Carolina that she was in her mobile home with her dog when the storms came through around 11 p.m.

“It hit. It sounded light a train coming through, and it hit. When it did I grabbed the kitchen sink, because I am standing there at the sink and grab it and I tell Lacy ‘stay.’”

Smith was tossed out of her trailer during the storm.

“The next thing I know, I am tumbling, and then I am sitting on the ground behind the trailer – up under it. Right there under the middle of the debris,” she said.

Smith said she feared Lacy had died, but the dog found her as she was on the ground outside the trailer. Lacy sat on her lap and she found a board to hold over their heads as the rain poured down.

A few minutes later, two men yelled out asking if anyone was inside the home. Smith said the men took her and Lacy to their house where they were able to dry off and she was given a change of clothes.

“It’s by the grace of the Lord that I am here,” she said. “It didn’t really hit me last night, but this morning when I came over and looked, I am amazed I am even alive. It’s just that bad.”

Smith suffered a few cuts and bruises and said she’s sore, but overall she’s OK. Lacy was uninjured as well.

A number of hog and poultry farm houses were destroyed in the storm and residents in the county experienced power outages. Around 1,300 people were at one point without power. Several of the roads in Sampson County are blocked by downed trees or power lines.

Officials said the damage followed an east-west path from north of Salemburg to north of Clinton.

Sampson County schools announced Tuesday morning that schools will begin two hours late due to the damage left behind by the storm.

The Sampson County Emergency Operations Center is operational and volunteer fire departments are driving around looking for any other areas blocked by downed trees or power lines.

The National Weather Service will be sending a crew to Sampson County to survey the damage today. The NWS will be looking to see if the damage was caused by straight-line winds or if a tornado touched down. The focus of the survey will be in the north and northeastern part of the county – just south of Hobbton near the Keener area.

Monday night’s storm came just a week after a EF-1 tornado packing 110 mph winds ripped through Autryville, a small town located in Sampson County.

The May 24 tornado knocked down or damaged a number of buildings, including the fire department. Three fire department vehicles, each valued at $420,000 were destroyed in the storm. No one was seriously injured.

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