On Thursday evening, just after 7 p.m., an EF-3 tornado with peak winds of 140 mph ripped through Bensalem Township’s Trevose section.
The massive funnel cut a trail of devastation as it destroyed homes and businesses, including several buildings of Faulkner Automotive Group in Trevose, just north of the intersection of Street Road and Old Lincoln Highway. It also damaged or flattened several residences in a nearby mobile home park. Six injuries were reported as of Friday, and no lives were lost. Uninsured damages appeared to be minimal.
“Our first priority is tending to our employees and our customers to ensure their safety and wellbeing,” said Faulkner in a statement. “While we ensure our Faulkner family is safe, we are taking measures to ensure the immediate safety, security and clean-up efforts of the dealership campus. We would like to thank all of the first responders who have been so helpful. We truly appreciate the outpouring of support and concern from our community. We will overcome this, repair all damage and return to serving our community as quickly as possible.”
The Bucks County Commissioners began surveying the damage around midday Friday. They were once again joined by state legislators and local officials, including Sen. Tommy Tomlinson and state Rep. K.C. Tomlinson, who were on hand to survey the disastrous flooding damage mere weeks ago.
“Such destruction is shocking when it is in your own county and not a midwestern state on TV,” said Diane Ellis-Marseglia, chair of the county commissioners. “The idea that such weather events are increasing is frightening, and should motivate all of us to take action to prevent further damage from climate change.”
Harvie said the county was “blessed” to have been spared from death or serious injuries from the storms.
“I have lived in Bucks County my whole life and I know there are others, like me, who have never seen anything like what we witnessed in Bensalem,” Harvie said. “Storms like the ones we have experienced in just the past few weeks are clearly the result of climate change, and should serve as a wake-up call for those who insist there isn’t enough evidence.”
The Bucks County Emergency Management Agency, assisted by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, determined the storm had destroyed two homes and damaged 22 others. Five businesses were also destroyed Thursday, and six others sustained damage.
Bucks County Emergency Services director Audrey Kenny praised the efforts of first responders throughout the county, who she said responded to more than 1,600 calls for service during the busiest hours Thursday evening.
“Our emergency responders performed exceptionally during last night’s storms, and we are so proud of the work of all of our 911 staff, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs,” she said. “They make a difference every day, and our county leaders applaud their bravery and dedication to our community.”
Among the challenging situations first responders faced, said Kenny, were collapsed buildings, people trapped in homes and a broken gas line.
Mere hours before the storms entered the area, the U.S. Small Business Administration approved a request from Gov. Tom Wolf to make low-interest loans available to victims of July 12’s damaging floods in Bensalem, Bristol Borough and Bristol Township.
Anyone in need of shelter after Thursday’s storms can contact the American Red Cross for assistance at 1-800-733-2767 (select option four).
Residents and business owners should report damage from Thursday’s storms to municipal officials.
Municipal officials should report damage to Bucks County Emergency Management by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 215-340-8700.