Monson tornado victims, six years later

The deadly tornado hit western Massachusetts on June 1, 2011

MONSON, Mass. (WWLP) – On June 1, 2011, a tornado ripped through western Massachusetts, leaving 3 dead and millions of dollars in damage. 22News went back to one of the town’s hardest hit by the E-F-3 twister six years ago.

Monson residents experienced a frightening Deja vu from Wednesday night’s lightning and hail storm.

Monson’s tornado victims say the devastation from June 1, 2011, feels as vivid as if it were yesterday.

Russell Bressette has rebuilt his home near the Brimfield line, but he’ll never forget that June day six years ago.

“I just walked into the house, I heard the train coming, I ran into the basement, as I was running down the cellar, the house flew right over my head, I got thrown into the basement,” Bressette told 22News.

The people of Monson worked to rebound and rebuild their damaged homes.

Claire Talbot’s trees will not grow again in her lifetime, but she considers herself lucky that the tree that means the most to her, was still standing after the twister.

“We lost all our trees except for the one that I planted for my husband,” Talbot said.

Some, whose homes were completely destroyed declined to speak on camera. The memories from that day, six years ago, are still a source of deep pain.

But a source of the town’s greatest pride was the restoration of the first church. The tornado sent the steeple tumbling to the ground.

The restoration of the bell tower has become a symbol of the town’s recovery.