Neighborhood still deserted after tornado

BRIMFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The destruction on Hollow Road left Brimfield residents in shock.

It was a miracle that no one on the street was hurt when an EF-3 tornado came through on June 1, 2011, but the twister destroyed the hillside homes and knocked down the surrounding trees.

In the aftermath, woodworker Steve Pfifer vowed to rebuild his home, his workshop, and another house that he rented out. Phifer and his son Jonathan restored their business within two months, but now three years later, his neighborhood still faces an uncertain future.

“Hopefully people will return to the houses. I don’t know that they will. A lot of people just don’t want to come back. The neighborhood; it changed so much,” Phifer said.

The owners of a nearby hillside home moved away after the house was demolished by the tornado, never to rebuild.

Up the hill from the Pfifers, there is only one rebuilt home in what once was an active neighborhood for people who loved living in the woods.

Steve’s son Jonathan told 22News of what will probably be a lifelong memory of that terrible June 1st: “Probably the smell of debris, the smell of the trees. The smell of debris; it lingered for a good month. It was a shock, it was. The smell; you couldn’t get away from it.”

Although the homes on the hill and the trees are gone, Steve Pfifer remarked how green it’s all become, and hopes that perhaps someday when the trees grow back, the people will also return.

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