Seven still hospitalized after tornado

Monday, November 20, 2006

RIEGELWOOD, N.C. -- Seven people remained hospitalized Sunday, including two critically injured children, after a fatal tornado ripped through this small community last week.

Eight people were killed and 20 people were injured when the tornado hit a mobile home park and an adjacent neighborhood in southeast North Carolina early Thursday morning.

The storm caused more than $500,000 in damage and destroyed more than a dozen homes.

The damage estimate could increase when officials analyze tax values of the damaged properties, Godwin said.

Volunteers continued to help residents rummage through debris from their homes Sunday and were expected to return Monday morning. Gov. Mike Easley has declared the area a disaster zone.

An estimated 100 people were displaced by the storm, and most have arranged to live temporarily with family or friends.

The tornado was part of a devastating line of thunderstorms that swept across the South, killing 12 people. Riegelwood is on the Cape Fear River about 20 miles west of coastal Wilmington.

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