8 Minutes: Bradley Air Museum and the 1979 Windsor Locks Tornado

October 4, 1979: Recovery

Despite the shock of what had just occurred, cleanup efforts began almost immediately after the tornado disappeared. Crews first worked to clear the roads so that emergency crews could access the affected areas, and first responders flooded in to search homes and evacuate the injured.

When word of the situation reached Hartford, Governor Ella Grasso (a Windsor Locks resident) instituted a curfew and activated approximately 500 National Guardsmen. President Carter declared the affected towns a disaster area.

For days after the storm, the air was filled with the sounds of heavy construction equipment and chainsaws as volunteers from all over the state contributed their time, money, and resources to help clear debris and begin the rebuilding process.

Families salvaged what they could from their ruined homes and took shelter with relatives, neighbors, or in one of the temporary mobile homes brought in from out of state. For long-term support, a newsletter, the “Windsor Phoenix”, was published regularly for a year following the storm and contained information on how residents could access things like counseling services and disaster assistance loans

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