Neighbors helping neighbors clear away Dinwiddie tornado debris

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - The National Weather Service will revisit Dinwiddie County Tuesday morning as it investigates a tornado that ripped through an eight mile stretch. Neighbors there are lending a hand to clean up the mess.

Friends, neighbors, family, even strangers are pitching in and they're in it for the long haul. For one homeowner, the cleanup could last months.

Gilbert Townsend has his work cut out.

"The storm lasted probably less than two minutes and I think it'll take it two months to clean it all up," said Townsend who lives off Glebe Road.

Luckily for him, he doesn't have to pick up the pieces alone. Relative Brian Miller lent his bobcat to hoist larger debris into a dumpster.

"Everybody in this neighborhood is close knit and we help each other out like we're family, so it's one of those things you help others, they help you," said Miller.

Countless others have pitched in too.

"Every time you're in trouble some body's going to help you out and I thank God we live in an area like this," said Townsend.

Townsend lives in the heart of Rocky Run. On Saturday, he pulled his wife into a bathroom as the twister shredded sheds.

Metal and wood litter a field next to his brother's house. Debris flew the length of about two football fields.

"It would have killed you in a minute out here," said Townsend.

One example of the sheer force of the winds. A 2x6 is embedded in a Honda Civic. In one of the hardest hit areas, Walter Smith is counting his blessings. His house was untouched. Friends are clearing away trees.

"I've always said Virginia is a real friendly state. A lot of people look out for each other," said Smith.

Back at Townsend's, in the midst of all the destruction, his sense of humor is unwavering.

"You want to see the fastest car in Rocky Run? My granddaughter's [toy] car ran 110 miles to the other end of the field," said Townsend.

Townsend hasn't seen the estimate yet on the damage, but thinks it's in the ballpark of about $70,000 for his property alone.

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