3-month-old's cries save him from tornado wreckage

Saturday, July 26th 2008, 8:06 am
By: News 9

EPSOM, New Hampshire (AP) -- The cries of a baby led rescuers to him in the wreckage of a home flattened by a tornado that killed his grandmother and blew his grandfather into the yard, officials said Friday.

Brenda Stevens, 57, and her 3-month-old grandson were trapped between the collapsed home's first and second stories, authorities said.

The woman's husband, Harley, had headed downstairs before noon Thursday because he was worried by the heavy black clouds rolling in, said Deerfield Fire Chief Mark Tibbetts.

"No more than he got downstairs and it started throwing him from side to side and rotating him around the house," Tibbetts said.

Stevens "was blown out the side of the building and found in the side yard," state Fire Marshal William Degnan said.

Brenda Stevens was pronounced dead at the scene, but the infant's cries led firefighters to him in the rubble. The baby was admitted to Concord Hospital, but a spokesman said the family requested no information would be released.

Concord Hospital said Harley Stevens was released after being examined in its emergency room.

The couple had been watching the boy while his parents were at work, neighbors said.

The National Weather Service on Friday confirmed that a tornado struck Deerfield. Officials said the violent storm left an intermittent path of destruction stretching about 20 miles from Epsom to New Durham.

A half-dozen homes were destroyed and many more seriously damaged, officials estimated. The storms snapped off thick trees, toppling many onto homes. Thousands remained without power, though utility crews were whittling down the number.

In Barnstead, which also saw widespread damage, a resident was injured Friday morning while clearing debris. Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Mulcahy said the man was knocked out when a falling tree limb hit him in the head.

(Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)