Loss of a beloved horse, more than storm-devasted house, still stings for JoAnn Kass of Brimfield

Loss of a beloved horse, more than storm-devasted house, still stings for JoAnn Kass of Brimfield


BRIMFIELD — JoAnn F. Kass has come to a point in her life where the June 1, 2011, tornado that flattened her home is a fleeting memory, a moment in her past that no longer defines or controls her.

It has been 10 years since Kass and her neighbors were caught in the 38-mile path of a destructive storm, later confirmed by meteorologists as three tornadoes.

Before the severe weather hit, Kass lived in a quaint Colonial home at 51 Paige Hill Road — on 14 acres with majestic trees and a barn that housed four horses. 

On June 1, 2011, Kass came home around 4:45 p.m. Hearing that a bad storm was forecast, she turned on the Weather Channel and saw she was in the path of an EF-3 tornado. Then the Emergency Alert System message was broadcast, advising to take shelter immediately. 

“It was an absolutely beautiful day,” Kass recalled. “There was no indication that it was even going to be windy, much less have a tornado.” 

More:10 years ago: Triple tornadoes ripped through region, leaving path of destruction

June 2011 tornado: The room of Joel J. Kass 17, grandson of Steven E. Bush and JoAnn F. Kass of 51 Paige Hill Road in Brimfield, who had their house destroyed during the tornado.

Horses at risk

With the fast-moving tornado on a collision course with Brimfield, a quick decision had to be made by Kass before getting out of harm’s way, whether to put her four horses in the barn or leave them out. She chose to leave them out. 

Roughly 45 seconds after she went downstairs and huddled in the basement, all hell broke loose. 



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