Daily Archives: June 1, 2011

‘It Was Swirling And The Wind Was Going Crazy': Tornado Rips Through Springfield

Published June 1, 2011

An apartment building in Springfield destroyed by a tornado (@TheFalconsAHL/Twitter)

An apartment building in Springfield destroyed by a tornado (@TheFalconsAHL/Twitter)

A tornado? In Massachusetts?

That’s what Stephen Hanjack was thinking this afternoon.

“We heard the warnings and everything,” Hanjack said. “You really don’t even think about it until it happens.”

Hanjack and his co-workers with the Springfield Falcons, the city’s minor league hockey team, were at work on the bottom floor of the MassMutual Center when the tornado hit downtown Springfield.

“We got a few texts from people — we all live in the area — that’s when we started to realize it was getting serious,” Hanjack said. “It started getting pretty dark out. People at the windows said debris was just flying by, it just looks like a dust cloud. It was swirling and the wind was going crazy, so we just backed away from the windows.”

The tornado didn’t last long.

“We just hung tight inside and once it passed it was silent,” Hanjack said. “And then you hear all the fire and police sirens going nuts.”

Emergency crews scrambled because the tornado had hit the city hard. Hanjack and his colleagues wandered out of the arena to survey the damage.

“The first thing we did was walk down to the courthouse,” Hanjack said. “There are hundred-year-old trees, huge trees, just ripped out from their roots.”

Trees down. Cars destroyed. Buildings crumbled. The pictures Hanjack posted to the Falcons’ Twitter account look like they were taken in a war zone.

For the most part, Hanjack and the city of Springfield are still stunned.

“You look at how powerful Mother Nature can be,” Hanjack said. “I’m at a loss for words.”

Tornado Watch Declared For Massachusetts

Published June 1, 2011

Update 7:01:

This video was uploaded to YouTube.
[youtube url=”igQLRPnUzmw”]


Update 6:55: The Twitter feed of the Springfield Falcons, a minor league hockey team has provided some incredible photos of tornado damage in Springfield.

Click an image to start a slideshow

Images courtesy of @TheFalconsAHL


Update 5:24: From the AP — An apparent tornado has caused damage in Springfield, Mass., but no injuries have been reported.


A tornado watch is in effect until 8 p.m. tonight for Massachusetts, northern Connecticut, southern New Hampshire and central Rhode Island.

We’ll be updating the live blog below as information becomes available.

[coveritlive title=”Live: #MATornado Coverage” code=”ce28eb5c09″ width=”630″ height=”400″]ce28eb5c09[/coveritlive]

Memories Of Playoffs Past Haunt The Bruins

Published June 1, 2011

It was a long time ago, but it still resonates in my memory.

It was Mothers Day, 1970, and I had not watched any of the Stanley Cup playoffs. But for some reason, the TV was on Channel 4 in my house — yes it was the NBC affiliate back then — and the late, great Dan Kelly announced what’s still known as the “Greatest Goal.” One Robert Gordon Orr flew through the air as he scored 30 seconds into overtime to give the Boston Bruins their first Stanley Cup in 29 years.

Mesmerized by the celebration on TV, it was my introduction to the National Hockey League and the Boston Bruins. Two years later I would enjoy it a lot better as the Big, Bad Bruins waltzed through the playoffs and beat the New York Rangers in the finals at Madison Square Garden and once again, Boston had its City Hall celebration.

I thought it was the greatest thing ever. At that point, I was not a Celtics follower and they hadn’t won since 1969. As a kid, baseball was boring to me and the Patriots were, well, just awful. But here were these swashbuckling Bruins who scored at will, owned the city and captured everyone’s imagination. I was a neophyte, but I was hooked. The Bruins were my team.

Thus began the disappointments. It started in 1974 against the expansion Philadelphia Flyers. The Broad Street Bullies muscled their way to the finals and beat Boston in six games. I remember it was the first season my childhood idol, Gilles Gilbert, was in the Bruins’ goal and former Bruins goalie Bernie Parent won the Conn Smythe trohpy as MVP of the playoffs.

After two seasons of early eliminations, Boston went back to the finals in 1977 and ’78. Both times they faced their hated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, whom they hadn’t beaten in any playoff year since 1945. That trend continued with a 4-0 sweep and a six-game loss, respectively.

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Wednesday Morning: Carson Beach Fights May Not Be Gang-Related

Published June 1, 2011

After fights broke out at Dorchester’s Carson Beach Monday, many reported that about 1,000 gang members met at the beach and were responsible for the brawls. Turns out, however, gangs may have nothing to do with it. It may just have been kids hanging out on a hot day off from school, WBUR’s Bianca Vazquez Toness reports.

The government is expected to rest its case today in the ongoing federal corruption trial of former House Speaker Sal DiMasi. The defense team will start to present its case in the coming days.

About half the members of a 27-member state panel polled by the Globe say they will support a controversial $2 billion expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Some, however, question whether the project will generate enough economic benefits to justify taxpayer investment.

Ever kayaked out at Spectacle Island? Hiked around Long Island? Roamed the old fort at George’s Island? Thomas Powers, the president of the Boston Harbor Islands Alliance, hopes the answer is “yes” by this time next year. A new pavilion designed to bring visitors to Boston’s 34 Harbor Islands is scheduled to open tomorrow on the Greenway.

Home prices are still falling across the country, but the Boston-area market has rebounded slightly from its earlier doldrums.

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have an increased risk of abusing substances, according to a new study out of MGH. Dr. Timothy Wilens, director of MGH’s Center for Addiction Medicine, said the study followed about 500 children with ADHD for over 10 years.

Tim Thomas and the Bruins look to take an early lead in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals tonight, when they face off against the Canucks in Vancouver. The first game of the best-of-seven series is tonight at 8 p.m.

What we’re following: We’ll continue to report on proposed fee hikes for UMass students, an award for Cape Cod Healthcare and the bank robbers that were caught in Andover.