Newburgh residents rally together after tornado batters city

NEWBURGH, Orange County (WABC) -- A vigil was held Wednesday night in the Orange County city of Newburgh for the 11-year-old girl killed when a tree crushed her family's car during Tuesday's storms.

And a community without power came together in solidarity.

In Newburgh, work crews were chopping up hundreds of trees as line workers started the painstaking work of putting the power grid back together.

Physically, the old manufacturing town on the Hudson is in terrible shape. But emotionally, it is a different story.

"We are showing love and support to everybody in the community whoever has experienced devastation," said Pastor Robert McLymore of Life Restoration Church.

The tornado carved a path down the main drag, peeling rooftops away like they were on paper. 24 hours later at Washington and Liberty, volunteers had already cleaned up the mess.

And restaurant owners like Michelle Bash fired up a grill and started to cook for anyone who might happen by. "And then people started bringing their own food and we've been cooking all day," said Bash.

"No matter what street you grow up in we're all here cleaning up now, we're all here giving out food," said neighborhood resident Gordo Acosta.

90 percent of the city lost its power in the storm. "Yeah. We just got clobbered by a tornado. There's no other way to put it," said Newburgh City Manager Michael Ciaravino.

And public works is stretched so thin the city manager himself has been in the field, checking on roadblocks around wires that are still live.

"We can't have traffic coming through here, someone can get electrocuted by high voltage," said Ciaravino. "That's our job. And then we've got our residents taking care of each other."

Newburgh has a long road ahead of it. It could be days before the power comes back, and months before things are normal again.

But at Washington and Liberty, something hadn't changed. "Oh we don't have power," said Pastor McLymore. "But we have love. And we have happiness. And as you see everybody here is happy."

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