Houma hospital cleans up after tornado - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Houma hospital cleans up after tornado

Houma, La. - Workers sterilized every piece of equipment and surgeries had to be canceled, one day after an EF-1 tornado hit Chabert Medical Center in Houma.

A surveillance camera at the hospital rolled as winds tossed around trash cans weighing more than 100 pounds. Another camera at the emergency room entrance caught the pounding rain.

Pressure popped open and shattered the ER doors. Flying debris broke several windows including one near the operating room.

"The whole OR has to be re-cleaned," says OR Supervisor Kelly Trahan. "You have to wipe windows, wipe walls, wipe equipment and reprocess all of your sterile equipment, which is a big deal."

The hospital suffered other minor damage. The wind sucked out the ceiling tiles in the waiting room. Debris shattered several car windows in the parking lot.

"We had some of the aggregate panel, which is the outside sheeting to the building, actually blow off and when that blows off it becomes like a missile," says CEO Rhonda Green. "There were several cars that had broken windows."

Down the street, crews were still working Tuesday to reopen the Cash Magic gas station on Grand Calliou Road. The tornado damaged some of the pumps.

Michael Gonzales helped his co-workers tape up their broken car windows minutes after the storm passed. He was inside the gas station when it hit.

"We seen the flag in the front flopping.  Next thing you know it, the windows start busting out," he says. "When that busted out, me and him took off running towards the kitchen."

It's a mess but everyone knows it could have been much worse. Despite the sudden and severe winds, no one was hurt.

It was a scary moment, though, one Norman Alghim hopes will never be repeated.

"That's my first time and I don't want to see that again," he says.

A survey team from the National Weather Service confirmed the damage in Houma was caused by an EF-1 tornado, packing winds of 86 to 110 mph. The NWS says an EF-0 tornado hit the Mathews area in Lafourche Parish on Sunday.

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