ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. – Dramatic dash cam video shows the moment an EF-3 tornado ripped through a Pfizer facility in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, last Wednesday, causing massive destruction as it tore across the area.
Marvin Hicks told Storyful that he had just had the dash cam installed in his vehicle just hours before the tornado hit the facility.
The video begins with the tornado coming into view on the left side of the screen, with massive amounts of debris swirling around the storm. The tornado is then seen crossing the parking lot and destroying the roof of a nearby building while the ferocious winds push and pull vehicles from their parking spots.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service said the 600-yard-wide tornado formed east of Raleigh around 12:25 p.m. on July 19 and spent the next 33 minutes sweeping through communities along I-95 near Rocky Mount. A storm survey team found the twister produced damage associated with estimated winds of at least 150 mph.
Pfizer facility tornado damage could exacerbate drug shortages
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Health experts warned that the impacts from the EF-3 tornado that hit the Pfizer facility will likely be felt nationwide as the country was already experiencing logistical shortfalls.
The Pfizer facility that took the direct hit from the tornado is one of the most extensive sterile injectable processing facilities in the world.
Healthcare Ready, a non-profit group that helps communities respond to and recover from natural disasters and outbreaks, said it was closely monitoring the situation and warned that some treatments may face supply chain impacts.
The organization said it was closely monitoring Bicillin L-A and penicillin due to the facility producing nearly a quarter of the country’s sterile injectables. A spokesperson for Pfizer said Bicillin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, was not manufactured at the plant, and the company does not anticipate impacts to the drug.
In a statement, Pfizer said, "There doesn't appear to be any major damage to the medicine production areas."
However, Pfizer said most of the damage was caused to the warehouse facility, "which stores raw materials, packaging supplies and finished medicines awaiting release by quality assurance."
The company said it was working to move products to nearby sites for storage and to identify sources to replace damaged raw materials and supplies. Pfizer said it was also looking at alternate manufacturing locations for production at other facilities.