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Micro Burst May Have Hit Garden City During Irene; Children In The Path Of Storm Find It Hard To Cope

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(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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GARDEN CITY, NY (CBS 2) – The village of Garden City is investigating whether it was a micro burst or a tornado that roared through almost a mile of the community as Hurricane Irene hit on Sunday, CBS 2’s  Jennifer McLogan reports.

Thomas Edert’s parents get teary-eyed thinking what could have happened.

 A 1,000-pound sugar maple and live wires narrowly missed their son sleeping in his bedroom.

Within minutes, Garden City neighbors ran to help and haven’t stopped in their support.

“I was actually standing on my front lawn crying,” said Lynne Edert. 

Garden City village inspectors are wondering if a micro burst or a tornado ripped through the community where tons of concrete were lifted like cardboard and magnificent century-old trees violently fell to earth.

Several fell on the Ventre’s property and their lives instantly changed.

“At night, it’s really dark and hard to around the whole house,” said Marc Ventre.

The Ventres and other Sackville Road residents have been eating together by candlelight, supplied by the one neighbor who actually has power.

“Dinner for everybody on this side of the block to about nine families,” said Laura Ventre. “It’s really phenomenal.”

The Ventres would rather concentrate on the kindness of neighbors than the shortcomings of the power company.

“You want to hear chain saws, you see LIPA trucks, but you see nothing,” said Michael Ventre.  

The Chiccos were also hit hard in the storm. Trees and live power lines came crashing through their girls’ bedroom, and consoling them could do little to calm the children’s nerves.

Five-year-old Hailey and 9-year-old Grace can’t shake the memory of Irene.

“I got really scared cause I didn’t know would happen,” said Grace. “Maybe a tree coming through the house.”

Her parents say the trauma was especially tough on Grace who had to celebrate her ninth birthday in the dark.

“She was very scared,” said dad Luke Chicco. “We did what we could. It was a process.”

“We’ve got wires hanging down in the street, been very difficult to cope,” said mom Patricia Chicco. Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday, she wanted to be at home. Neighbors brought over homemade cupcakes and birthday cakes.”

Among those kindly neighbors, retirees June and Matthew Fay who live across the street and dropped everything to help.

“It’s a group effort,” said Matthew Fay. “That’s what neighbors are about.”

“When a tree comes down in your home and you hear it, it is a whole other level of stress,” said June Fay. “They’re young and the parents are resilient.”

The Chiccos feel it is important for healing to keep the dialogue going.

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