"SPRINGFIELD — Tornadoes tore through Western and Central Massachusetts yesterday, killing at least four people, injuring an untold number, and reducing schools, churches, and homes to splinters along its destructive path.
Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency throughout Massachusetts and ordered up to 1,000 troops from the National Guard to help with rescue efforts. He said at least 19 communities had reported damage and he asked officials in those towns and cities to close schools and keep nonemergency personnel home today to allow work crews to clear streets.
“We are in an emergency situation,’’ said the governor in a news conference at the state’s emergency management headquarters in Framingham. He said there had been reports of looting in Springfield, and he described the damage from the storm as extensive."