Storm rips through Fallston, collapsing buildings

The Friday storm, that might have spawned at least one tornado in Fallston, ripped through Harford County, doing some of the most severe damage in the triangular area bordered by Belair Road, Harford Road and Route 152. What witnesses said was a tornado, uprooted some trees, sheared the tops off of others, tore down power lines, closed roads, collapsed two small buildings, sent at least one injured person to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center and brought much of the greater Fallston area to a halt.

"It sounded just like a freight train," Mary Corun, who lives on Belair Road right across from the new Walmart in Fallston, said. "We headed right down to the basement."

Two small buildings were flattened and the busy commercial district of Route 1 between Route 152 and Harford Road was darkened on what would've usually been a busy Friday evening. Part of Harford Road between Route 152 and Route 1 was closed for a short time until fallen trees were cleared from the roadway. Traffic lights were still out at 8:30p.m. at some of Harford County's busiest intersections.

Motorists were warned to avoid Route 1 and Harford Road between Kingsville and Bel Air, as the area around Milton Avenue and Bel Air Road has been severely impacted by the storm, fire and emergency service spokesman Dave Williams said shortly before 7 p.m.

There are no damage estimates yet, Harford County Executive David R. Craig said shortly after 9 p.m. Friday. Craig said the county's building inspectors were ready to assess the damages, but wouldn't go to the area until after the tornado alerts were over, which at the time were to remain in effect until 10:30 or 11 p.m., he said.

"They're here and ready to go," Craig said by phone from the Emergency Operations Center in Hickory about the county inspectors just before he was to travel to the Walmart in Fallston to address the media.

Craig said there were about 2,600 homes without power, most of them on Whitaker Mill and Old Joppa roads. He said whether it was a tornado or just a powerful storm wouldn't be known until Saturday or Sunday after federal officials had investigated and made their determination.

Two were injured when at least three small buildings collapsed. One was sent to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center and the other was sent to Franklin Square Hospital. Neither their names nor their injuries have been released. Craig said officials believe the two injured men may have been affiliated with the Bel Air Auto Showcase, but that had not yet been confirmed.

Craig said he expected Whitaker Mill and Old Joppa roads to be closed until some time Saturday.

The Emergency Operations Center was partially activated at about 6:15 p.m.

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