Storm damages gym roof at South Lenoir High School

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 3:32 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:39 PM EST
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LENOIR COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Strong storms caused significant damage to a high school gym in Lenoir County this afternoon.

Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Murry Stroud says no one was hurt inside the gym at South Lenoir High School in Deep Run when the storm came through.

South Lenoir Athletic Director David Combs said he, a few coaches, and some girl’s basketball team members were in the gym at the time. “Our first reaction was to get them out,” said Combs. “Some dust was flying. The sounds, you really didn’t hear anything. You know you started seeing some stuff flying by the windows.”

After making sure the girls were safe in the locker room, he went outside and was surprised by the damage.

Principal Elizabeth Pierce was on her way back to the school when the damage hit. “Oh my, we have a lot of work to do,” was Pierce’s initial reaction.

She said it didn’t take long for help to arrive, with dozens of people onsite from the school system.

With students returning Thursday from Christmas break, the principal said they had to quickly work out logistics like where gym classes would be held. Pierce said they have a plan in place, adding that classes tomorrow will go on, “business as usual.”

The school system already has hired an industrial roofing contractor to make the repairs.

Stroud said there were also reports of downed trees across southern parts of the county while a tree fell into a home on Catherine Avenue in Kinston.

The National Weather Service also reported a tree down on a house on Morgan Swamp Road, northeast of New Bern, damage to homes along Highway 33 and Guilford Station Road in Beaufort County, and a large metal garage lifted up and blown into Lanefield Road outside of Kenansville.