Tornado devastates north German town

Tornado devastates north German town
A firefighter and a local man clear up bricks in central Bützow. Photo: DPA
People in the small town of Bützow, northern Germany, saw their community ripped apart on Tuesday night by a tornado that injured 31 people and smashed buildings.

The roof was ripped off the church in the town centre, with thousands of bricks left scattered through the streets among fallen trees and smashed cars.

“[The bricks] were coming at us like gunshots,” said Christian Grüschow, mayor of the small town in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, who was himself slightly hurt on the hand.

One brick could be seen stuck into a wall eight metres above the pavement at the market square, driven ferociously into the masonry by the high winds.

“It went dark all at once. I was on the balcony and went inside. And then all at once it cracked,” said Horst Rieben, whose house suffered a badly damaged roof in the storm.

Thunder and lightning burst over the town continually for around 10 minutes, residents said.

“It just didn't stop,” said Winfried Klar. “First there was a little rain and then chaos”.

Local authorities were unable to estimate the value of the damage to the town, saying only that it would surely be “many millions of Euros”, but that it would take days to calculate.

Three houses in the town are no longer habitable, while dozens of cars had to be written off.

Only one woman was hurt seriously, while 30 more people suffered light injuries.

But dozens of people came together to join around 130 firefighters and other emergency responders as soon as the storm was over, helping to clear up the mess.

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