(NECN: Ally Donnelly, Springfield, Mass.) - A crowd of reporters surrounded Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at the command post at the Basketball Hall of Fame Thursday. One asked if meteorologists or emergency officials could have better prepared the public for what was to come. Patrick shook his head no, "The National Weather Service gave all the warning they had and you know how much that was in the city of Springfield? It was 10 minutes."
Patrick touring, by Blackhawk, the staggering devastation left by a series of tornadoes in Western, Massachusetts. He said, "When you see the extent of the physical damage, it's hard to believe there have been as few confirmed fatalities and it's a tremendous blessing."
The official death toll is at four -- though officials say the fatality in Springfield was a cardiac arrest and may have happened before the tornadoes. About 35 people have been reported hurt in the city, 5 critically.
Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet said, "We're going to consider this search and rescue as long as there are dwellings torn apart and buildings that have pancaked." Local, state and federal search teams have been combing the city with dogs. Said Springfield Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Conant, "We've gone through all the most heavily damaged homes and businesses and found no missing people, no one trapped." Police are asking people anxious for a look at such historic destruction to stay back for now. Fitchet said, "Apparently they're sightseeing and we don't need that. We've observed people with cameras, video cameras, we don't need that."
Said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, "We have FEMA, we have MEMA, the National Guard has been put forth and we're moving out of triage stage right now, we're moving into stabilization stage and then, eventually, we'll move on to rebuilding."
The governor says amid the heartache he has seen incredible resilience.
A family forced into a shelter. "I said are you okay and she said we lost everything," Patrick said. "And the little boy who was sitting next to her, who was her son said, 'you still got me.'"
And, of course, the West Springfield mother who died laying on top of her daughter in the bath tub. We ask the Governor, "When you here a story like that, of that kind of heroism and commitment from a parent, what goes through you?"
"Well, I'm a dad," he says. "And I understand that a parent will do just about anything to save a child and it's got to be some small comfort for the 15-year-old survivor, I hope it is."