Campers return after twister hits sports dome - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Campers return after twister hits sports dome

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A parent from the camp at the sports dome in East Windsor brought a cake to thank counselors for rushing their kids to safety during the tornado! A parent from the camp at the sports dome in East Windsor brought a cake to thank counselors for rushing their kids to safety during the tornado!

At a sports dome in East Windsor Tuesday, workers were busy assessing the damage after the tornado blew the cover of the athletic field to shreds.

Parents went out of their way to thank the summer camp counselor who got all the kids off that field just in time.

About 30 children, ages 5-12, were inside the Sports World dome playing on the fields just before the tornado hit Monday afternoon.

Kathy Russotto, a Sports World manager who runs the Funtime Summer Camp, knew the weather was bad and could get worse, so she decided to move her campers into the aluminum building next to the dome.

"I got in the door, and within less than 10 seconds the dome was gone," Russotto said.

The incident was also a scary experience for the campers.

"The building just shook and stuff and I fell to the ground," said camper Nico Ford. "All I could see was the dome just flying away and lights exploding. It was just really scary."

Alexis Ford was one of the last campers to come off the sports field before the tornado hit.

"When I was going through the lights were shaking and it was very loud," Alexis Ford said.

Nico Ford is the brother of Alexis Ford and told Eyewitness News about their strong bond.

"As we got inside when I heard the giant bang of the dome," said Nico Ford. "My first instinct was to run towards her, so that was kinda like instinct."

The families of the campers appreciated the fast-thinking of Russotto and the camp counselors.

"In less than a minute that we got out you just hear a bang and a pop and you see the bubble going up and then they yell get under the table," said Domnic Whalen. "It was kinda scary."

John Whalen, a parent of a camper, brought a cake to show their thanks.

"It is a thank you to Kathy and all the staff for keeping all the kids safe and making the right decision when it mattered," Whalen said.

Campers were making T-shirts already Tuesday, boasting the survival of the tornado of 2013.

Parts of the destroyed dome could still be seen along I-91 Tuesday morning.

Camps throughout the state reviewed safety procedures after tornado touched down.

"At the first sign of thunder, lightning we do shut down," said  Amanda Robles, who is the aquatics director at YMCA in Plainville. "And its a half hour after every sign of the storm."

At the YMCA, they sound a siren on their bullhorns if it's an emergency, and usher the kids into the gym.  

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy toured the damage Tuesday afternoon.

"I just want to come by and see the damage and figure out how we can help some of our communities," he told counselors at Sports World.

Malloy thanked them for having a plan in place and getting all the campers to safety.

The owners were still working on assessing the damage before they come up with a timeframe on how long it'll take to get the dome up and running again.

Of course the campers couldn't use some of the fields Tuesday, but they did get some outdoors time on the other areas at Sports World.

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