PARIS — The National Weather Service confirmed Saturday that a tornado touched down in South Paris on Friday night.

Paul Bickford didn’t need to be told.

Bickford and his daughters were home when it touched down near their house, snapping about 20 trees in his backyard. “It was terrifying. I hope I never go through one again.”

Thankfully, it was quick. The tornado had passed before they had time to run to the cellar, leaving their deck and above-ground pool damaged under fallen trees, but sparing the rest of the house.

“We were very fortunate,” Bickford said.

His father’s house, less than a half-mile away, didn’t fare as well. Peter Bickford was in Aroostook County when the tornado struck. He returned Saturday to find part of the roof of his garage torn off. The 4- by 8-foot slabs of plywood were found as far as half a mile away.

He said he was grateful no one was hurt.

The tornado left the elder Bickford with something new: a view of Route 26 through what used to be 100 yards of forest. He said the tornado drew a line of fallen trees straight from his yard to the road.

“This was my father’s house, and he never had this view either,” Peter Bickford said.

Out on Route 26, Central Maine Power Co. crews were erecting new poles. Despite the damage, Peter Bickford was optimistic that he might have power returned late Saturday night.

With a garage torn open and hundreds of trees lying on the ground, Peter Bickford was laughing Saturday night. “It looks just like a war zone out here.” Tired from cleaning up all day and daunted by the work ahead, he said it was all he could do.

Paul and Cathy Bickford of South Paris survey the tornado damage in their backyard on Saturday. The Bickfords suffered no damage to their house; only their deck and above-ground swimming pool were affected. The property also lost about 20 trees.

Peter Bickford of South Paris talks on his cell phone Saturday while looking over the damage to his garage caused by a tornado on Friday. The garage lost a section of its roof and the back wall caved in. Bickford said he lost so many trees due to the winds that he will have enough firewood for about 20 years. Parts of Bickford’s roof were found about half a mile from his home.

A neighbor, left, checks on the well-being of Paul and Cathy Bickford in South Paris on Saturday, following Friday’s tornado. The Bickfords lost numerous trees and have been with out of power and water since Friday. A high number of utility poles and trees were blown down on the Paris Hill and Ryerson Hill roads in South Paris.


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