Vacationing Firefighters Quick to Help after Tornado - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Vacationing Firefighters Quick to Help after Tornado

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CHERITON, Va. - Among the 1,300 plus people vacationing at the Cherrystone Campground in Virginia on Thursday were two firefighters from Delmarva who were quick to act once the storm had passed.

Once the tornado warning lit up Brandon Olenik's phone, he and his family braced for the storm to pass over them.
"Everyone I have ever heard talk about being in a tornado says it sounds like a freight train.  They're right.  They're spot on.  It sounds like a freight train hustling down the tracks," said Olenik.

Olenik is a member of the Camden-Wyoming Fire Company.  He said once the storm blew over the campground, he and the people he was vacationing with went camper to camper to make sure people were ok.

"We kind of sprang into action and we helped a lady that was actually pinned under her refrigerator that had fallen over," Olenik said.
Thomas Riale was also on vacation with his family.  Riale is the assistant fire chief at the Port Penn Fire Company in New Castle County.  Like Olenik, Riale was quick to lend a helping hand after the storm passed and came across a tragic scene.

"We made it to the one tent.  There was a tree across the tent and there was a family there of four.  The parents were obviously gone underneath the tree and the fire department actually cut the tops of the picnic tables off and we used them as backboards and me and my father helped carry the one girl out to the waiting ambulances," Riale said.

Both men said it was an experience they will not soon forget.

"I've seen a lot in the fire service, but not of that magnitude," Riale said.

Both Olenik and Riale said their families made it through the storm unharmed.  They both went on to commend all of the people at the campsite who were willing to help after the storm had passed.  From other firefighters and EMS personnel on vacation to the average vacationer willing to lend a hand.
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