Storm causes damage in Belmont; closes down drive-in theater

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The sound of generators fills the air in parts of Belmont as homeowners wait for linemen to clear fallen power lines draped underneath trees.

“Then it’s just saw work and a lot of manual labor,” said homeowner Mark Rutherford. He came home from work Wednesday to see his massive 200-year-old oak tree come crashing down. Thankfully, away from the house.

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“That’s the blessing in it, right,” Rutherford told Queen City News, “Because my wife and daughter and granddaughter were here in the little lower area of the house. And they were sort of really nervous, actually, and they didn’t even hear it fall. The neighbor actually called and said, ‘Are, y’all okay?’”

A few blocks away, the owners of the Belmont Drive-in theater were just trying not to burst into tears. Sheets of metal from their screen had ripped off, and they brought in a generator to salvage food in the fridge. This is a gut punch for the owners who reopened the family business last summer after it closed in 2014 due to operational costs.

“They went through a lot to get that restored to start shows and movies again,” Rutherford said. “So, yeah, I’m sure they’re pretty upset.”

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The owner of the drive-in tells Queen City News they’re stressed and beyond upset. They have full-time jobs, and they decided to reopen the drive-in on weekends for the benefit of families in the area. Now, almost everyone is left picking up the pieces from something as small as a fallen basketball hoop, to debris, to detached gutters and entire trees.

“I got a letter from Duke Power this morning that said my power will be restored by 2 p.m.,” Rutherford said. “That’s the miracle workers if that plays out, right? With this big tree laying on it, need a power pole and a transformer.”

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