Virginia Beach city departments work to clear tornado damage

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – More than 200 homes in were damaged in Friday night’s storm; at least 12 of those homes have been condemned.

The city streets were filled this weekend with volunteers, from many different parts of the city, all out to lend a helping hand.

Linda Robinson, who lives in the Buckner Farms neighborhood of Virginia Beach, says after the storm her street was a mess.

“I looked and it was like devastation around here. I was in shock, absolute shock. I could not believe it,” Robinson says.

But on Sunday morning she had a different reaction.

“I just can’t believe everything’s gone. All the debris is gone,” says Robinson.

Her street had been cleared thanks to the inmate workforce through the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s office.

“We use them for disaster relief and stuff like that,” says Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle. “We have about 44 inmates that are currently assigned and we have about 18 deputies that work, so they’re out here to help.”

Those crews worked in Buckner Farms and Rock Creek. That’s also where firefighters from the Virginia Beach Fire Department were doing wellness checks and helping people remove their belongings on Saturday.

“We’re trying to asses everything from severe damage to moderate damage to minor damage,” says Art Kohn with the Virginia Beach Fire Department.

The past few days have been long for many of the crews. The volunteers say helping people clean up from a tornado is something they were not expecting.

“I’ve never heard of a tornado hitting Virginia Beach and doing this much damage before,” says Stolle.

Many volunteers spent hours working in these neighborhoods, leaving people like Robinson feeling safe and grateful.

“The most amazing part of all was how everybody came together and helped each other. it was just amazing,” says Robinson.

The city says anybody who still needs help should call 311.