WRECKED: A NSW Rural Fire Service firefighter inspects a wreckedcaravan at the Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park after yesterday’s tornado.
WRECKED: A NSW Rural Fire Service firefighter inspects a wreckedcaravan at the Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park after yesterday’s tornado. Jay Cronan

Chaotic scenes at Lennox van park

ONCE affectionately known as the ‘Jealous Palace', Wendy Beutel and Sandie Williams' caravan at the Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park is now just a smashed mess after it was overturned by yesterday's tornado.

It was a chaotic scene at thecaravan park, which was one of the worst affected parts of Lennox Head.

Several vans had been flung into the air by the wild winds, with one crushing another when it landed on top of it. Others were also completely destroyed by the tornado's ferocity.

HAZMAT teams were calledafter a transformer exploded on a power pole at the western end of the caravan park.

Highly toxic oil leaked out of the transformer, forcing emergency service crews to completely block off the caravan park.

It took several hours to clean up the dangerous chemicals.

Live powerlines were also strewn across the van park and Country Energy kept the electricity off for most of the day.

No one was staying in any of the damaged caravans at the time the storm hit, and it is understood they were all holiday or weekender vans.

The rest of the caravan park was evacuated and people directed to the Lennox Head Bowling Club, where the Red Cross and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) had set up and were finding emergency accommodation for people.

Ms Beutel, of the Gold Coast, said she was devastated their little piece of heaven had been destroyed.

“We saw on the news there had been a tornado at Lennox Head so we just jumped in the car and came straight down here,” she said.

“We were planning to come down here on the weekend.

“We only bought the van 12 months ago and we had just done heaps of work on it, doing it up and making it nice.

“Now we're just waiting until the SES will let us in so we can see what things we can salvage.”

Amazingly, a small tent wasnot damaged and remained standing just 100 metres from theirupturned caravan.



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