Three years later: 39 miles of destruction still transforming - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Three years later: 39 miles of destruction still transforming

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Sunday will mark three years since a tornado tore through parts of Western Massachusetts, killing three people and leaving thousands of homes damaged.

Looking around Western Massachusetts today, a lot has changed since June 1, 2011.

The view down Main Street in Springfield on that afternoon looked like chaos, as businesses and homes were torn apart.

Today it looks much different as workers with organizations like Rebuild Springfield have spent countless hours trying to piece it all back together.

There is still work left to be done.

Along the 39 mile path that scars the land from Westfield to Southbridge there are noticeably fewer trees, some homes still in states of reconstruction and even still some empty lots where buildings stood.

Entire neighborhoods were tossed around in Monson and Springfield.

Today the damage is still visible, but it's not nearly as jarring as it was in the days, weeks and months that followed.

CBS 3 sat down with Wayne Phaneuf, executive editor at MassLive and The Republican, who is working on a three-part series about the ongoing reconstruction.

"It's going to take nature years and years to be able to heal itself. What you see here with this tree, multiply that by tens of thousands in the wooded areas. Brimfield state forest is still, it looks like somebody came in and just took down all the trees and they're still lying in kind of a circle where the tornado went through," he said, standing on a hill in Springfield on the grounds of the former MacDuffie school, which was badly hit.

CBS 3 Springfield will have more coverage on Sunday, June 1.

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