HIGH POINT, N.C. — Two EF-1 tornadoes tore through High Point and Whitsett one week ago.
Those affected are still dealing with the damage left behind.
“We heard the noise and felt it rip apart. We had employees in the parking lot that could not open the door because of the backpressure to get in,” said Mark Phillips, owner and CEO of Phillips’ Collection in High Point.
95 mph winds lifted the steel roof of Phillips’ wholesale furniture warehouse on Finch Avenue.
“We heard this tremendous sound and the roof of our warehouse was actually lifted from the building,” Phillips said.
Thousands of dollars worth of custom-made furniture was water damaged.
“We have extensive damage. We have a higher-end product that is delicately finished using exotic materials and it was directly exposed,” Phillips said.
Now one week later Phillips and his team are still figuring out if they can salvage what was destroyed.
“We dried what we could. We still haven’t cleaned up adequately,” Phillips said.
You can still see the openings in the ceiling that are in the process of being repaired. Some sections have been patched up while others are temporarily stapled back down.
“There seems to be an endless amount of work to contend with,” Phillips said.
Employees have been working around the clock to keep up with orders and save what merchandise they can. Phillips tells FOX8 he’s especially grateful for the support from the High Point community. Businesses and organizations have offered up supplies and manpower to help.
“It was amazing how people thought, ‘How can I help somebody’s been hit?’” Phillips said.
Even though half of Phillips’ staff was in the building at the time the tornado hit, no one was injured. Phillips said he’s using the experience as a learning opportunity.
“We will devise plans. We will educate everyone as to the safety and the smartest spots to be. It is a blessing that no one was hurt,” Phillips said.
Guilford County Emergency Management told FOX8 20 homes and nine businesses had minor damage from the tornado in High Point. One business had major damage. In Burlington, 139 homes and 2 businesses suffered some form of damage.