Students run to safety as storm tears apart gym


(TRIBUNE MEDIA WIRE) — Three North Carolina students were injured Monday as a storm tore through their school’s gym, leaving a gaping hole in the roof and wall and debris all around.

Powerful video captured that moment, showing a group of more than a dozen students playing in the gym at Union Intermediate School before running to safety.

“We were playing basketball, and it just sounded like something exploded in there,” Chloe Brewer, a fifth-grade student told CNN affiliate WRAL.

She was one of the students injured. All three were taken to a hospital and released.

“I just turned around and was looking at the stage, and it just collapsed,” she said. “And then we started running, and something hit me from behind, and I fell down. And then the glass started breaking,” she told the affiliate.

It was a microburst — a column of sinking air — that caused the damage, the National Weather Service said.

“Damage in the form of snapped and uprooted trees to the west of the school structure, along with the more significant roof uplift and partial outer wall collapse of the schools’ gymnasium occurred in a clear fan-like fashion,” the weather service said.

The school remained closed Tuesday for students due to the damage, Sampson County Schools said in a statement. Classes may resume as early as Thursday, CNN affiliate WTVD reported.

“There’s a lot of debris and glass in that class in that gym, at this time,” Sampson County Schools spokeswoman Wendy Cabral told the affiliate.

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