CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — A tornado with wind speeds around 120 miles per hour struck Old Dominion Floor in Chesterfield County Monday, causing the building to collapse, killing one man inside. The National Weather Service started its survey of storm damage along Speeks Drive Tuesday morning and determined the tornado that struck the warehouse was a EF-2 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale.
The National Weather Service interviewed survivors who said they could not get the warehouse door shut because of a power outage in the area. They said when the strong wind got inside the building, it helped rip off the roof as the tornado passed.
The man who was killed, whose name has not yet been released, was found near the office where his co-workers sought shelter.
His body was underneath debris from the fallen roof.
Emergency crews responded to the damage on Speeks Drive at about 3:34 p.m. Monday, according to Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesperson Lt. Jason Elmore.
“We were able to actually meet with the manager of the flooring company that notified us fairly quickly, almost immediately, that he had accounted for all of his employees, expect that one,” Lt. Elmore said.
Elmore said the Speeks Drive scene was one of four area of Chesterfield that sustained significant storm damage. Other damaged areas included Victorian Square Shopping Center, the Birkdale and Hampton Park subdivisions, and areas near Beaver Bridge Road.
National Weather Service inspectors said it was too soon to say just how many tornadoes touched down on Monday.
At the Wireless Solutions store across the street, employee Erick Flores witnessed the tornado as it came barreling toward him, and captured it all on video.
He said moments after he ended the video, a shard of metal came through the window.
His boss, Ricardo Garza said he wasn’t as the store when it happened, but said minutes after receiving the alert on his phone he got a call from Flores. Then came back to find not only major damage to his store, but to the entire area.
“Fortunately, thank God nothing happened to him,” Garza said.
Garza said he will now begin to rebuild, thankful that the storm didn’t take another life.
“I say thank you to Jehovah for protecting us,” Garza said.