Wind Destroys Home
Strong winds buffeted Fulton County Wednesday evening and Thursday, downing various utility lines and leaving many area residents without electricity. For one unfortunate Licking Creek Township family, the absence of power would have been a more favorable ending to the "tornado-like" storm that left them homeless.
At 2:03 a.m. last Thursday, 22-year-old Joshua Mellott was lying in bed listening to the wind whip around the 140 Madeline Drive home he shared with his mother, Tina, and younger siblings, Derek and Kellie, when things outside went uncharacteristically quiet.
The noise, which had been compared by the Mellott family's neighbors to the sound of a freight train or loud growling noise, dropped away to nothing, causing her eldest son to rise from bed. The only two family members at home, Joshua grabbed his younger brother, Derek, 16, and quickly exited the home.
Within moments of their departure, the ceiling above Derek's bed fell to the ground while other pieces, including the ceiling fan, were flipped on top of the roof. Two layers of roofing on the backside of the 22-year-old residence that consists of two joined mobile homes were stripped, and the home's walls buckled and cracked, leaving it uninhabitable.
Tina Mellott told the "News" she received a phone call from Joshua about the storm damage. She said, "You could tell from Joshua's voice that it was bad. He just kept saying, 'The roof is gone. The roof is gone.'"
"You could see the path where the tornado-like winds went by our home," stated Tina Mellott. " ... There is debris from our home all through the woods."
The Mellott family is currently scattered to the wind, residing with various family members in the area. They are hoping to bring a dumpster on site to aid in the clean-up and eventually move some form of inexpensive housing onto the property just off Little Egypt Road.
Tina Mellott noted the local chapter of the American Red Cross was contacted to aid her family. However, they did not have to accept an offer for temporary housing at a motel as they were able to stay with family. In addition, clothing donations weren't necessary after the family found and cleaned their personal belongings.
Sadly, Tina Mellott noted she had just finished paying off her home several days before the storm blew through. Furthermore, her homeowner's insurance had expired last fall and she had high hopes of utilizing her income tax return to renew her policy.
In the meantime while the family tried to recover from their losses, power line crews with Allegheny Power worked round the clock through Saturday afternoon to restore power to area customers. Power outages across the four-state region initially had left more than 200,000 customers without electricity as a result of damaged poles, lines and equipment. As of late morning Friday, 64 customers in Fulton County were still without power. Power to several homes in the Needmore area that had been lost due to downed trees was not able to be restored until lunchtime Saturday.
Susan Penning of Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Inc., which services a portion of Fulton County, told the "News" the majority or bulk of the service problems were in the Raystown Lake region of Huntingdon County.
However, the co-op did experience localized problems spanning almost all of its eightcounty service territory, including the Harrisonville substation. Through the substation, approximately 70 consumers situated between Hustontown and Clear Ridge were without power between 7 a.m. and lunchtime Thursday as a result of a damaged three-phase line.