Tornado Woes Linger for Revere, Mass.

"Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! on the roof. The outside turned black. The doors were swinging open, sucking us in, sucking us out."

That's how Yano Petruzzelli of the New Deal food store on Broadway in Revere, Massachusetts, remembers it starting a year ago this day. Then it just got worse.

Twenty feet above his parking lot, "The sign exploded, started going right. The tree snapped. And then the transformers blew across the street," Petruzzelli said. "All this happened in 30 seconds. It was the craziest thing I have ever seen in my life."

On the other side of the Brown Circle rotary, Marie Annaloro of Master Auto was running an errand when the tornado flattened her shop. A cashier had been in a booth between the gas pumps 10 seconds before it was whipped over, and almost certainly escaped death. "When I came back here the first thing I did was I hugged everybody. I did," Annaloro said. "I was blessed that I could come back and nobody died."

Petruzzelli battled to get the store repaired and reopened within a week. For Annaloro, it was more like six months. "For the most part we're up and running, and that's a blessing," Annaloro said.

But one thing both are still waiting for: Insurance money from their insurance carriers. It's a widespread problem for a city that sustained an estimated $4 million in damage from the tornado.

Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo said: "Limitations and exclusions on insurance policies put a financial hardship on many residents here in the city, many business owners here in the city."

"We're still waiting," Annaloro said. "It's a process. It's a long process. I think a lot of people don't understand what's actually involved with insurance."

Agreed Petruzzelli: "It's always a waiting game with insurance companies. When that gets done, that gets done. You can't push the insurance companies. They do it their way."

For many Revere residents, memories are still fresh of the violent destruction of the morning of July 28, 2014.

Gerry Iovanna remembered being at home at the other end of the tornado's two-mile swath: "I went to look out the window and that's when I saw the huge grey funnel cloud at the skating rink, coming toward the house. So I just ran down the hall and crouched down in the hall," Iovanna said.

She lived through a long minute of chaos. "A massive tree hit the house, went through the roof, took out the deck, then took out my car in the driveway," Iovanna said. "It was totalled."

Iovanna uses one of the same key words as Annaloro: "We were blessed. Revere was blessed that nobody was killed."

But memories of the terror of that day never really fade. Annaloro said, "You look outside when the skies are dark, and you can't help but ... Your mind wanders. You know?" 

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