Pharmaceutical company Pfizer confirmed that the large manufacturing complex was damaged by a twister that touched down near Rocky Mount, but said via email that it had no reports of serious injuries there. It said in a later email, without giving workforce numbers, that the plant employees followed safety procedures and evacuated and all “are safe and accounted for.”
Parts of roofs were ripped open atop its massive buildings. The Pfizer plant stores large quantities of medicine that were tossed about by the storm, said Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone, adding, “I’ve got reports of 50,000 pallets of medicine that are strewn across the facility and damaged through the rain and the wind.”
The National Weather Service said in a tweet that the damage was consistent with an EF3 tornado with wind speeds up to 150 mph (240 kph). The storm temporarily closed a stretch of Interstate 95 in both directions in North Carolina, causing kilometres of congestion.
Aerial video also showed homes smashed to pieces or without roofs.
According to Nash County Sheriff, Keith Stone, six Dortches residents have been treated on scene by EMS and two Dortches residents have been transported by EMS to a local hospital.