Tornado Hits Morgantown
By Career Staff J McCully
May 28, 2019

On 5/28/2019 a tornado touched down in a field in Caenarvon Township Berks County just North of Swamp road. The tornado severely damaged properties in the area, including the home of EHBEMS Chief Joseph Carmen, who luckily was actively watching the radar and was able to get his family to safety in the basement of his residence just as the tornado struck. The tornado then continued on its path into Morgantown ripping into the Valley Ponds development, Damaging many homes in the development including the residence of Twin Valley Fire Chief Jason Brooks before continuing into the industrial area then ascended back into the sky shortly after passing the Elverson station. Chief Carmen contacted Captain Dunlap moments before the tornado became visible to the crews watching the storm from the parking lot at the station on his cell phone to warn them to seek safety and also to inform him of the damage to his home. Captain Dunlap contacted the Chester County dispatch center to inform them that a confirmed tornado had struck the area. Captain Dunlap and EMT McCully immediately started responding to the home of Chief Carmen while Lieutenant Eno followed behind in his personal vehicle. However as soon as the crew turned onto Main Street, ambulance 89-1 was dispatched along with the TVFD for a residential rescue for a female trapped in her residence on Lexington Way, ambulance 89-1 responded to Lexington Way with Lieutenant Eno continuing his response to the home of Chief Carmen. Ambulance 89-1 advised the Chester County dispatch center of significant damage to the area, especially in the area of the Valley Ponds Development. During the response EMT McCully contacted several employees of EHBEMS on his cell phone to report to the area with additional resources. Upon arrival Captain Dunlap met with Chief 69 whom arrived on location simultaneously and whom was in the process of setting up Valley Ponds Command, Chief 69 made Captain Dunlap EMS command at this time. The EMS crew noted a significant corner portion of a home missing with occupants visible inside the residence, Captain Dunlap yelled to the visible occupant from the walkway of the resident to check for injuries. Both subjects the residence denied being hurt, however they stated they couldn’t get out. EMT McCully entered the residence to assist the occupants with exiting the home to ensure their safety while Captain Dunlap requested additional resources from Berks and Chester Counties on the radio. Once the responders on location returned to the command post, Lieutenant Eno arrived on location and stated he was unable to get to Chief Carmen’s residence due to damage in the area and trees blocking his routes of travel. Captain Dunlap and Lt Eno began to utilize the vehicle of Lt. Eno as the EMS command post. Fire apparatus began to arrive on location at this point and the firefighters along with EMS on location began going door to door checking for injuries, damage and sizing up the area. This operation took several hours due to the wide area of devastation, luckily no injuries were found. The mobile communication center from Chester County, the American Red Cross, along with dozens of pieces of apparatus and responders from Chester and Berks responded. Eventually EMS crews were able to gain access to the residence of EMS Chief Carmen and found significant damage to his residence and vehicles, although again luckily, no injuries in the area as well.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help with relief for Chief Carmen & his family as his property was among the hardest hit.

Photos courtesy of J. McCully Photography

Units: 89-1, 89-2, 189-1, 189-2. Chief 89, 89-23, 89-24