38 years ago, Wednesday, the borough of Albion and the people who lived there would be changed forever when a deadly twister touched down.
First responders who rushed to save as many lives as possible on that day shared their memories of a distant past that is ever present in the minds of that community.
“I’m never going to forget it, I’ve lived here all of my life,” said Tim Crane, son of former Cranesville chief and captain “I knew it was 38 years when I woke up this morning.”
May 31, 1985 is a day not many long time Albion residents will soon forget.
Several tornados tore through northeastern Ohio and Pennsylvania, but destruction hitting the borough of Albion made it nearly unrecognizable.
“You look around, you didn’t even know where you were at. It was just damage everywhere,” Crane recalled.
Each year, pictures and memories resurface of the disaster. But those who were there say the pictures don’t come close to comparing to the real thing.
“I mean you can see pictures and stuff like that, but until you were there, you could actually see the path of the tornado through Albion,” said Bob Herman, the first Chief of the Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department.
The rampage that ran through town took the lives of 12 people, injuring many more alongside the obliteration of homes, especially at the trailer park.
“There was a bunch of trees down, we climbed our way through the trailer park and there was nothing left, just debris everywhere,” Crane told us. “We were in there most of the night. We were using doors as backboards to get the people loaded. We had a couple trapped as well.”
It was unordinary to be hit by a storm like this. Erie County is known for its snowstorms more than anything. First responders trained for storms, but nothing quite like this.
“You train for these things, but when you see it especially at such a large scale, you have to keep going and remember the basics,” Herman explained. “During an emergency, the best of human nature usually comes out, you see the best.”