Three generations of a family killed in EF-2 tornado in Smithfield

Updated: 07/09/2014 11:13 PM
Created: 07/09/2014 8:40 PM WHEC.com
By: Dan Bazile, WNYT

Communities across New York continue to clean up after devastating storms ripped through parts of our area Tuesday.

The National Weather Service confirmed that four tornadoes touched down as the storm made its way across the state, including one that claimed the lives of four people, including an infant, near Syracuse.

Three generations of a family lost their lives as a tornado came through. Our sister station, WNYT in Albany, talked to a family member who is still trying to come to grips with the devastating loss.

Damon Keville said, “We just lost all hope when this happened, real heartbreaking.”

It happened around 7:00 p.m. Tuesday. The violent storm came through the town of Smithfield in Madison County and left behind a path of destruction in about a half a mile radius. Damon Keville's family was right in the middle of it.

Keville said, “I've always been a firm believer in the good Lord, then you wonder why these things happen. Innocent babies and innocent people killed.”

Police say four people died in the storm. Three of them, 35 year-old Kimberly Hillard, her four-month-old daughter, Paris Newman and 70 year-old Virginia Warner, were all Keville's relatives. A fourth victim, 53 year-old Arnie Allen, was also found in the aftermath. Most of the damage was concentrated in one neighborhood. Four houses were destroyed, according to officials. Four more will need extensive repair.

Allen Rilley, Madison County Sheriff, said, “We had one home that actually was lifted off its foundation and traveled approximately 200 yards and landed on another building. It's just devastating. It looks like something you'd see from out west.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo toured the damaged area Wednesday. He says a number of state agencies are assisting in the recovery efforts.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “And this new normal of extreme weather is a challenge for government. It's a challenge for first responders and it's a challenge for every citizen in this state.”

Officials say the cleanup is going to take a while to get this place back to normal. They say it's going to take a long time for this community to heal. 

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