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Gloucester firefighters have long, busy night

Abingdon Fire and Rescue Chief Herb Austin was at home watching television Saturday evening when the emergency broadcast system said that a tornado had been spotted on the ground near Busch Gardens in James City County and was headed toward Gloucester Point.

He got his gear ready, just in case, and within five minutes a call came in that a tornado had struck on Hummingbird Lane and two people were trapped. From that time until 2 a.m., fire and rescue crews were busy cutting their way through downed trees, treating injured patients, and searching for people who might be trapped in the rubble.

Austin said he set up a command post at the corner of Hickory Fork Road and Richneck Lane, with assistant EMS chief Phillip Veek in charge of patient care and master firefighter Robert Parlett in charge of search and rescue.

Power lines were tangled in among broken and uprooted trees, initially preventing rescue vehicles from driving through neighborhoods in the Coke area of the county, sai...

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