Scituate residents still recovering from EF-2 tornado

SCITUATE, R.I (WLNE) — New England is only three days removed from five separate tornados hitting communities across the area, destroying dozens of homes.

Homeowners have spent the weekend trying to clear out debris, but some feel like they’re not getting enough help.

An EF-2 tornado made its way through Scituate and while homeowners are doing everything they can to recover, they said they’re a long way from being back to normal.

“It’s a living hell out here, trust me. This is the biggest nightmare of my life right here. The biggest nightmare — it’s amazing. I’m 52-years-old, and when I was 19, I served in a war that defended this county,” said Richard O’Neill Jr. who’s lived on Byron Randall Road for 30 years.

O’Neill’s roof was torn off during the tornado that came through his neighborhood Friday morning.

He told ABC 6 News he’s been living off a generator in his home to avoid electrical issues with water leaking in.

“I can’t have power in my house because I don’t have shingles on my roof, which — I don’t want power — I told Rhode Island Energy, ‘Do not put power in my house because I don’t want to burn my house down,’ because I don’t want electricity and water. I mean, I studied that when I was an electrician in high school,” O’Neill explained.

“I had two bathrooms leaking like I could take a shower when the storm was going on. I could have lost my life over here, OK? And I’m saying to myself, ‘It would be nice if FEMA would step up and say, ‘Let’s help these people,’ but it’s only three people right here — there’s only three of us and maybe we’re not that important,” he continued.

FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides emergency relief for national disasters.

While this was the largest tornado Rhode Island has seen since 1986, FEMA assistance is something that needs to be requested by a state’s governor, and Gov. Dan McKee hasn’t declared a disaster emergency for these recent tornadoes.

“Because I hear, ‘Wow, I live in Florida and I had a hurricane that came through, it’s such a big deal,’ Everybody says it’s such a big news story, wow that’s really great,” O’Neil expressed.

“You know, FEMA comes in, ‘We’ve got them, we’ve got them,’ but like I said, there’s three of us, it’s isolated, but it’s big, it’s big,” he continued.

The other homeowners in this area have power restored, and they told ABC 6 that they spent the weekend trying to clear out leftover debris.

O’Neill told ABC 6 he’s going to be fine, but for the homes here that were hit the hardest, he says a little help shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Categories: News, Rhode Island