By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
CONETOE — A burst of straight line winds ripped the roof completely off a single-wide mobile home and damaged three houses Thursday evening in the Conetoe Fire Department district as a line of potentially severe storms moved through the area. The brief storm also downed power lines and knocked down trees throughout the county. There were no bodily injuries reported.
The most severe damage reported was done to a mobile home on Burnette Farm Road. Conetoe Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) Chief Allen Dennie said the wind, "Pulled the top off that trailer just like opening a can of soup. It pulled the linen off the bed but left the mattress and the box spring. A TV was sitting on a dresser in the room and it did not move it. Nothing was disturbed on the dresser. I've never seen anything like that in all of my 30 something years as a fireman."
Before the storm, the resident of the trailer, Richard Cobb, 66, left to go to the store. When he came back, his roof was 1,000 yards from his trailer.
"He's very fortunate that he was not in the house," Dennie said. "If he was, we would have been looking for him in the woods."
The damage to the mobile home left it unlivable. The American Red Cross will provided shelter for Cobb in the coming days, Dennie said.
"We managed to savage some of his clothing, but the trailer is a total loss.
Two others houses on Burnette Farm Road sustained minor roof damage.
The Conetoe VFW also responded to a downed tree on U.S. 64 Alternate. The tree took out power lines, knocking out power to all of Conetoe's residents, Dennie said. Power was expected to be restored by midnight.
Edgecombe County Emergency Service Manager Butch Beach said wind peaked at 42 miles per hour.
"It really felt like it was higher than that," Beach said. "It lasted in some places from 12 to 15 minutes and in other places at 15 to 20 minutes. According to the weather service, it was not a tornado."
Beach said the storm was rare because it did not drop much rain.
"We didn't hardly get any rain," he said. "That's was good because the river is still high. I think that we fared pretty well."