EPSOM, N.H. (AP) – Officials confirmed Friday that a tornado struck neighboring Deerfield, where a grandmother died when her house collapsed on her Thursday.

Officials say her husband was spun around inside the lakefront home and ejected into the yard, leaving the woman and the couple’s 3-month-old grandson trapped between the building’s two collapsed stories.

She died, but the infant’s cries led firefighters to him in the rubble. He was hospitalized, but no information is being released at the family’s request.

The National Weather Service confirmed Friday that a tornado struck Deerfield.

Harley and Brenda Stevens lived on Northwood Lake, which is bounded by three towns.

Deerfield Fire Chief Mark Tibbetts said Friday that Harley Stevens headed downstairs a little before noon Thursday because he was worried by the heavy black clouds rolling in.

“No more than he got downstairs and it started throwing him from side to side and rotating him around the house,” Tibbetts said. He then was thrown outside.

Brenda Stevens, 57, and the 3-month-old boy, whose name has not been released, were both sandwiched between the collapsed first and second floors, state Fire Marshall William Degnan said. She was pronounced dead at the scene, but Degnan said the infant was in a void.

Degnan said Harley Stevens “was blown out the side of the building and found in the side yard.” Concord Hospital said he was released after being checked out at the emergency room Thursday afternoon.

He did not respond to efforts to reach him through neighbors.

Neighbors say the couple had been watching the boy while his parents, Harley Stevens’ son and his wife, were at work.

The tornado and severe thunderstorms left an intermittent path of destruction concentrated along a path running about 20 miles northeast from the lake to New Durham.

Officials estimate that a half-dozen homes were destroyed and 100 damaged. In areas including near the Stevens’ home, the storms snapped off thick trees, toppling many onto homes. Thousands remained without power.

Across the border in Maine, trees were blown down and homes were also damaged in the Bridgton area. A determination had not been made by Friday afternoon whether that area has also been struck by a tornado.

The Red Cross, a pair of Federal Emergency Management Agency teams and a state team led by the New Hampshire governor surveyed the damage in that state and worked to provide and coordinate help.

In Epsom, Fire Chief Stewart Yeaton said he was concerned about people getting hurt during the massive cleanup. He said the risks included the possibility of live wires still on the ground, weakened tree limbs and inexperienced people using chain saws.

“It’s still a dangerous situation,” he said.

AP-ES-07-25-08 1349EDT


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