On Wednesday, a video showing a devastating tornado struck a Pfizer factory in North Carolina, causing widespread destruction. The powerful tornado, with winds reaching speeds of 150mph, tore through the area, leaving the factory in ruins. The aftermath was chaotic, with 50,000 pallets of vital medicines scattered across the rain-soaked site, and the factory’s roof crumpled and twisted.
The impact of the tornado extended beyond the factory premises, affecting two counties in the region. Reports from officials indicate that 16 people were injured, two of whom sustained life-threatening wounds. A staggering 89 buildings were also damaged as the storm system swept through North Carolina.
The tornado’s path started near Nashville, North Carolina, around 12:35 pm and continued northeastward, passing through Rocky Mount, located 60 miles east of Raleigh. In Rocky Mount, the Pfizer facility faced the brunt of the tornado’s force, resulting in significant destruction to the pharmaceutical plant.
The tornado eventually lost its strength in Scotland Neck, approximately 40 miles from its origin. As it moved through Nash County, North Carolina, homes suffered significant roof damage, and power lines were brought down, exacerbating the situation.
Sheriff Keith Stone of Nash County reported that the Pfizer warehouse took the brunt of the tornado’s fury. He mentioned that around 50,000 pallets of medicines were scattered and damaged amid the rain and strong winds. Before the storm, Pfizer employees quickly sought safety in designated areas upon receiving warnings of the impending weather.
Inside the facility, the lights flickered, and then a tremendous sound akin to an explosion echoed through the building. The deafening noise lasted approximately ninety seconds before the tornado moved on.
The Pfizer facility, sprawling across a 250-acre site with 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space, is one of the most extensive sterile injectable facilities globally. It plays a crucial role in producing nearly 25 percent of all sterile injectables used in U.S. hospitals, with 400 million units leaving the site annually. The company is evaluating the situation to gauge the impact on production and expressed concern for their employees, patients, and the affected community.
The National Weather Service classified the tornado as an EF-3, indicating winds up to 165 mph. The tornado scale ranges from EF-5, with the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri, classified as an EF-5 storm.
The tornado also led to road closures along I-95 North Carolina due to fallen trees. In total, 13 people were injured, and 89 structures sustained damage in Nash County, according to WRAL reports. The damage assessment continues as authorities survey the affected areas.