May 26, 2011 – Just after 20:00hrs the Schuylkill County Communications Center and Emergency Management advised all emergency services of severe weather containing hail and strong winds in excess of 60mph entering the western part of Schuylkill County.
At 20:05 a line of severe thunderstorms and a confirmed EF-1 tornado tore through the Cressona and North Manheim Township areas causing major damage to homes and power equipment. The EF-1 tornado with winds up to 110 mph hit near Cressona, uprooting trees, knocking down power lines and damaging more than 20 homes along an 18-mile track to West Penn Township. The NWS called that twister the “Schuylkill Haven Tornado.”
The Schuylkill Haven Fire Department was dispatched to numerous calls throughout that night and early morning hours.
Call Timeline/May 26, 2011
- At 20:28 – Stations 1 & 2 were dispatched to Seven Stars Road for multiple trees and poles down. Fire personnel arrived on scene and found that possible tornado activity occurred with the roof blown completely off the Seven Stars Hotel. Crews conducted residential welfare checks in the area to make sure of no injuries.
- At 20:38 Station 4 was dispatched to Berne Drive and removed several trees from the roadway.
- Chief 722 (Sattizahn) and Chief 730 (Reed) requested manpower from Pottsville City to assist with welfare checks and salvage operations.
- The Hamburg FD and Pine Grove HH&L were dispatched to the borough to stand by in Station as all SHFD units were committed to numerous incidents.
- Station 4 was dispatched to Weavers Road and Haven Fair Lawn for trees and wires down. Crews removed and cut multiple trees away from the roadway.
- At 22:15 Engine 733 and Utility 734 were requested to assist Chief 41 in the Cressona Borough with multiple trees, poles and wires down. Crews arrived and began multiple trees from the roadways. Fire personnel also assisted with welfare checks at several residences.
- Station 4 was dispatched to Shady Lane for a large tree blocking the roadway.
- Station 4 was dispatched to Hoover Street in the borough for a tree down blocking a residence.
Overall the Fire District 63 ran over 30 calls in a 48 hour period. Fire Police remained on scene and at red lights for almost 3 days due to the power outages in the area. Many mutual aid companies were also called to assist the Schuylkill Haven Fire Department.