Tom Walters still remembers the chaos in Limerick Township two decades ago when a violent tornado ripped through the Montgomery County town.
“We were literally using the doors that were blown off the house for stretchers,” Walters said.
Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the event that changed the town forever. On July 27, 1994, a tornado touched down in Limerick around 11:45 p.m. The twister intensified to an F3 and had peak wind speeds between 158 and 206 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
“A twister in the middle of Ridge Pike,” said Walters, who was the Limerick Fire Chief at the time. “Dancing back and forth.”
The twister caused major devastation to “the Hamlet,” a housing development that was under construction at the time. The tornado destroyed 20 of the 27 occupied homes. It also killed a family of three while injuring 25 other people. A savings bond owned by one of the victims, a 10-month-old child, was found the next day in Bath, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles north, according to officials.
The tornado also tore through Limerick’s business area, causing over $5 million in property damage.
“Once you got over the shock and surprise, you had a job to do,” Walters said.
Today the devastating twister serves as a learning tool for the town. Fire officials say if a similar storm hit their town, they’re now trained to be ready.
NBC10 aired a story on the Limerick twister last year. You can view it in the video embedded above.