A Pfizer manufacturing facility was extensively damaged Wednesday when a tornado ripped through eastern North Carolina.
The National Weather Service said the EF3 tornado that touched down north of Rocky Mount packed winds of up to 150 mph, according to WRAL-TV in Raleigh.
?️The tornado survey results are in!
The Dortches-Battleboro NC Tornado was on the ground for 16.5 miles and produced peak winds of 150 mph.
“It went from sunshine to pitch black. We’re just thankful there were no lost lives,” said Jackie Vick, the mayor of Dortches.
WRAL reported that 89 buildings in the area of the storm were damaged.
Parts of the building’s roof were torn off in the storm, and 50,000 pallets of medicine were damaged, WRAL reported.
It said power to the facility was lost and could take up to a week to restore.
In addition, 175 vehicles at the plant were damaged. Some storage and distribution buildings were destroyed.
“At this point there are no reports of serious injuries. We are assessing the situation to determine the impact on production. Our thoughts are with our colleagues, our patients, and the community as we rebuild from this weather incident,” Pfizer said in a statement.
The company’s website said the Rocky Mount plant “is one of the largest sterile injectable facilities in the world, with more than 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space on 250 acres in Eastern North Carolina.”
“Nearly 25 percent of all sterile injectables used in U.S. hospitals are produced at the site,” it said.
“At this facility, a wide range of products are produced, including anesthesia, analgesia, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers,” Pfizer said.
The plant employs 4,500 people, according to Reuters.
The tornado destroyed the home of Mike Poythress of Dortches, who said he and his girlfriend barely survived, according to WTVD.
He said he, Deborah Moore and his dog, Sabot, took refuge in a bathtub that went flying when the tornado hit and landed 30 yards from what was left of the house.
“I was holding on to her nightgown, and my dog, and this is the results. We came out of it, but nothing we owned did,” he said.
Moore was hospitalized but is expected to recover from her injuries.
“I don’t have anything to rebuild with,” Poythress said. “This is it. Everything I had, was put into this home. The furnishings, the appliances, the house itself.”