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Ligonier Tornado Victims Begin Cleaning Up

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in 2004 as co-host of The KDKA...
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LIGONIER (KDKA) — A tornado touched down near Ligonier on Friday, damaging more than two dozen buildings and now the cleanup effort is in full swing.

Steve and Tracy Pelesky’s home has become the iconic image for the storms.

“As we were going down the basement, I saw the swing set go flying by and we had just – as soon as we hit the basement – is when it hit,” Tracy said.

They emerged to find the roof of their 200-year-old home called “The Tempest” gone.

In the Oakwood Hills subdivision, Ligonier Township crews were clearing the trees that uprooted or snapped in the storm

“We have approximately 75 homes in this eight-mile area that have been affected,” Dan Stevens, Westmoreland County Emergency Management director, said.

Ligonier Borough Firefighter Pete Pacienza’s home took a direct hit in the roof from a tree. The force of it crushed the roof and cracked the walls all the way to the foundation.

“We’re probably going to have to gut this side of the house,” he said.

Back at the Pelesky’s, a crew is packing up what can be salvaged from the home.

They say their swimming pool is pretty much untouched except for the fencing.

Their outdoor kitchen and garage is okay and the house itself – had it not been for those 16-inch thick walls that were built back in 1800 – it probably wouldn’t have survived.

But thanks to those walls, they plan to give it back in livable condition as soon as they can.

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