HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — When the tornado and high winds ripped through several Westmoreland County communities, it destroyed more than homes.

St. John’s Harrold Reformed United Church of Christ, the oldest church of its kind west of the Allegheny, sustained damage to the roof, bell tower and the church cemetery.

The vice president of the church council, Tom Schoaf, says the bell tower was shifted 10-to-12 inches by the tornado when it came through.

In addition, the interior of the church suffered water damage and 40 to 50 headstones were toppled in the cemetery.

KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti reports:

Not far from the church, a 130-year-old one-room schoolhouse was badly damaged. Part of the roof caved in.

Historical society member Don Baker said it was not only a museum but taught students about the past.

The original slate roof was priceless and insurance won’t cover the damage.

One homeowner in Fort Allen whose power was restored, said her neighborhood was one big family and was sure to bounce back.

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti reports:

Red Cross
Salvation Army

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