‘We’ll just trudge on’: Fulton business destroyed by tornado

Dru Ghegan, President of Bonded Service Warehouse at 1805 Westgate Parkway, surveys the damage Tuesday nearly 24 hours after a possible tornado blew through the area of Fulton Industrial Boulevard.
Dru Ghegan, President of Bonded Service Warehouse at 1805 Westgate Parkway, surveys the damage Tuesday nearly 24 hours after a possible tornado blew through the area of Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Surveyors with the National Weather Service have determined an EF-1 tornado with 105-110 mph winds hit Fulton Industrial Boulevard on Monday morning, ripping trees from their roots and crumbling brick buildings.

The twister touched down near Sweetwater Creek State Park at 10:20 a.m. and tracked east, damaging the industrial area along I-20 and I-285. The Weather Service received numerous reports of damage to trees, power lines, homes and businesses.

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It was not clear if the Fulton storm was the one that ripped through Douglasville, resulting in the death of beloved restaurant owner Scot Hudson, who died after a tree hit his vehicle in stormy weather. That storm reached wind speeds of 90 mph and cut a path 250 yards wide and 1.5 miles long, the Weather Service said.

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Whatever its strength, the Fulton County storm was powerful enough to punch a hole in the side of Bonded Service Warehouse, a 100,000-square-foot building in the Westgate Parkway complex off Fulton Industrial Boulevard. Dru Ghegan, the business’ president, said the building was likely a total loss.

The 100,000-square-foot warehouse is likely a total loss.
The 100,000-square-foot warehouse is likely a total loss.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Credit: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

One side of the brick building was collapsed Tuesday morning, exposing towers of inventory inside. Bricks and tree debris still littered the parking lot nearly 24 hours after the storm blew through.

Ghegan said he pulled into the lot about 15 minutes behind the storm and was shocked by what he saw. Ten employees inside the warehouse made it out safely, Ghegan said, “which is all that really matters.”

“They were shook up, but they all did what they were supposed to do and everybody got out,” he said. “I’m very proud of them.”

Ghegan was not sure how the damage to the building would impact his inventory.

“We’ll just trudge on and rebuild and take it from there,” he said.

No injuries were reported in Fulton County. Another possible tornado hit a community in Walton County as severe storms moved east Monday afternoon, according to the Weather Service.

Preliminary reports indicate trees down in the area of Ike Stone Road north of Monroe are likely the result of tornado damage. The area was also expected to be surveyed Tuesday.

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