Tornado hits couple of businesses, homes in Pierce County

FREDERICKSON, Wash. -- An EF1 tornado hit a couple of businesses and homes in this small Pierce County town, with wind gusts reaching an estimated 110 mph Monday morning.

People in Frederickson, which is east of Spanaway, were rattled when the tornado moved through town and damaged homes along Canyon Road. The first reports came from the Northwest Door plant.

“It sounded like a vacuum starting up at first -- high-pitched whining sound and then a big boom and metal bending and tearing a little bit,” Kirk Ramsden said.

Dozens of employees ducked for cover as the tornado took a piece of the roof off the plant. No one was hurt.

“They’re not allowing anyone inside the warehouse right now because one of the beams is actually twisted, so there is structural damage to the building,” Central Pierce County Fire Assistant Chief Ed Hrivnak said.

After assessing the damage and knowing everyone was OK. the door company's president joked about the matter. “We’re very pleased that these are northwest doors in the entire building and not one of them is damaged or inoperable -- that was good," Jeff Hohman said,

There was also damage to Boeing property to the northeast.

In a small residential neighborhood trees were toppled, fencing flew in the air and a roof was ripped from Carlos Garcia’s home.

“We heard the house shaking, rumbling,” Garcia said. “We didn’t know what it was. We thought it was an earthquake.”

His backyard saw damage as well. His neighbors large, metal gazebo flew into his backyard and landed just a couple feet from his home.

The Department of Emergency Management warns that backyard items like lawn furniture could make a severe storm deadly.

“I’m just glad that we’re all safe and nobody got hurt,” Garcia said. “That’s all. That can be replaced. Our lives cannot be replaced.”