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View Full Version : Tornado hits home...



sack316
02-17-2008, 08:58 PM
Just now getting back in, so not sure what (if any) news this may have made yet. But a tornado came ripping through poor Prattville, AL today. Fortunately thus far my family and friends all seem to be OK. My parent's house on the other hand, is an entirely different story.

I live roughly maybe 5 minutes from them, the house I grew up in for nearly 20 years. It took me about 2 hours to get there from my house today, due to roads being closed, traffic block offs, etc. I finally squeaked through a back road to an area just outside the neighborhood, parked my car and hoofed it from there.

Walking up my old street, which I had done uncountable times in my childhood and teen years, seemed normal at first. It looked like a bad thunderstorm had come through, but the structures and street itself seemed like it would any other day.

Until suddenly it was almost as if I line was drawn as I reached the top of a hill, and I found the street littered with downed power lines, toppled trees, debris, police and rescue workers, random onlookers and old neighbors. And as I neared my old home, the damage just seemed to get worse and worse... roofs were missing, houses could be seen straight through, some left to only the frame. I almost even stopped and turned back- I really couldn't imagine the house me and my baby sister played in for all our lives looking like that.

I finally arrived to find my Dad on top of the roof, alone except for the large tree from the front yard joining him atop the home. I walked around the side to go check on my Mom, and found the entire garage collaped on top of the relatively new Miata and the classic '85 RX-7. The same garage in which my and my sisters entire life is practically stored in, toppled to the ground. I continued out back to see the house behind us quite literally nearly gone. I could see many other housed like it... houses that on another day I couldn't have seen so clearly for the trees that are supposed to be there.

I went inside to find my Mom on the phone and quite in shock... half happy to see me and half upset because she told me not to try to get out to come over there. One of her first statements was "I only found on of your baseball cards... I don't know where the others are or if they are even OK". I tear up just typing that last sentence. I reassured her that I indeed have most of my collection at my apartment, which is perfectly OK. I spent the next few hours on the roof, helping my Dad patch up holes as best we could, working around branches that are now going through the roof.

My sister drove down from Montevallo to check on things, and help inside with my Mom. I really don't think the whole thing has hit either me or her yet. I went in to check on them, and noticed that the roof over my and her old bedroom may well not make it through the night... especially with that nice tree sitting on top of it as the water causes the ceiling to sag. As my sister took their cat back to Montevallo, I began rapidly trying to gather the expensive items from our since transformed rooms, to put them in safer places.

As the daylight ran out on us, I tried my best to go through a checklist of things for my still shocked parents to have packed up. Once we were fairly certain we had everything, I was ready to escort them to my Grandparents home where they will live for who knows how long. Before we hit the road, their concern was still for their son to take some food from the house that they had purchased for me this weekend. They have quite possibly lost everything at this point, and even in their shocked state their first instinct is to worry about my having enough food at my unscathed home. We finally get going in the two cars that are thankfully relatively undamaged and proceed to get them to their temporary home. Shaken and worn... but healthy and safe by the grace of God.

And now I am home, making the calls to check on everyone that couldn't be gotten ahold of. Hoping to raise a small army of people to come help out at the house tomorrow morning. And worrying what it will look like to me then, when it all may actually seem to be "real" for the first time.

Sack

SKennedy
02-17-2008, 09:23 PM
Sack, I'm very sorry for the loss of the house, or part of it... and property for your parents and yourself, as well as the others there. At least no one in your family was injured!! It's funny that your Mom was worried about you getting out and worried about baseball cards....obviously a great Mother! I'm sure your parents are thankful they have children nearby who care and can help. While your parents may have lost their house or part of it, your family has something much deeper and better that many do not have.
Again, sorry for your loss. If your sister gets tired of taking care of the cat, let me know...we have 3 already and 2 dogs..one more we would not notice. God bless you and your family!

pooltchr
02-18-2008, 05:16 AM
I am truely sorry for your losses, but very pleased that none of your family was hurt. These kind of things have a way of putting things in perspective. I'm sure your family will come out if the ordeal even stronger.
God bless!
Steve

LWW
02-18-2008, 05:28 AM
My heartfelt sorrow for your loss, and I'm very glad to hear everyone is safe.

Peace bro.

LWW

sack316
02-18-2008, 07:09 AM
thanks for your responses friends, and all your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated. I think it's the first time in my life I've had to feel that "reversed" (I don't know what to call it) feeling where I'm the one worrying about my parents state of well being. I'm not sure I've ever seen them like they were yesterday, and they understandably were seemingly in another world. I mean, I have a humble little apartment I've build my small little life of not much in over the last 8 years or so... and cannot even fathom what they are feeling from possibly losing their home of nearly 30 years full of things, treasures, and memories from their entire lives. I really wish it had been me that got hit, as starting over from scratch has been somewhat of a habit of mine anyway over my adult life... seems that would make things a lot easier.

At any rate, I've got a few people coming over this morning to help out as much as we all can. And other friends have volunteered tools and any materials we may need. Also the insurance agent should be meeting them this morning. I think the only thing I lack right now is maybe locating one of those portable storage units that I'm sure we'll eventually need to temporarily put some things in to save from possible water damage from the damaged roof. All in all, though, compared to some of the houses and businesses I saw yesterday and last night I don't THINK we came out too awfully bad... even as bad as it is.

Well all, I'm off to gather what I can, grab however many pairs of hands I may be able to find, and make use of as much daylight that we can. Bless you all for your thoughts and concerns and I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Sack

Fran Crimi
02-18-2008, 07:30 AM
Wow. I can't imagine how much work you guys have ahead of you. At least your loved ones are safe and sound. It's sad to hear of people losing a lifetime of cherished momentos. I hope your neighbors pull through okay.

Fran

Deeman3
02-18-2008, 08:15 AM
Sack,

I only had minor damage but some near me lost houses. I have to meet the insurance people this morning. If you need anything, let me know. I can be there in an hour or so. I know you guys had a curfew all last night and I hope it holds up that no one was killed. Overall, Alabama was lucky last night. I am thankful your folks are o.k.

Rich R.
02-18-2008, 08:48 AM
I'm speechless. Tornadoes scare the hell out of me.
I'm glad to hear your family wasn't hurt.

dg-in-centralpa
02-18-2008, 09:24 AM
Glad to hear that you are ok. Best of luck to you on the job ahead.

DG

Gayle in MD
02-18-2008, 12:01 PM
Good luck, Sack. Glad that neither you, nor your family, suffered injuries. So sad to think how your parents must be feeling, but I'm sure you'll pull together, and while many things will be gone, having one another for comfort and support, is everything.

I'll be thinking of you and yours.

Gayle

eg8r
02-18-2008, 12:09 PM
Sack, this is awful news. I am so sorry to hear about this but I am glad your family is OK. I cannot imagine how much work is ahead of you but you and your family will be my prayers.

eg8r

DickLeonard
02-18-2008, 06:33 PM
Sack316 I am sorry for your families losses. No one can understand the violent force of Nature and what it takes to rebuild. Hopefully everything will go together. Buildings can be repaired its the memories on pictures etc that is harder to replace.

My prayers are with you.####

sack316
02-18-2008, 09:40 PM
Thanks again everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and support... I really cannot tell you how much it means.

Today I got the chance to walk the neighborhood some, and it looks like a warzone. Looks as if my folks will be without their house for a few months acording to the estimates. And as bad as that is, their house is really not anywhere near as bad as much of the neighborhood... not even close. I have a few pictures I will be putting up somewhere when I can figure out what I did with my camera. Gonna be a long few weeks/months ahead, but right now we'll just be busting our humps to get the stuff cleared out of the damaged parts of the house. They have managed to secure an extended stay hotel for a while... even though about a bajillion people offered to let them stay with them. Amazingly enough, thus far there have been no fatalities reported... which if you saw the shape of things you would not see how that is possible.

I gotta give a TON of credit to the people in the area. Alabama Power was busting their humps all day and have somehow actually got power restored to that area as far as I know. I was amazed at how quickly they could clear out and replace those poles! I swear, they must have had every truck in Alabama there. There were also several crews just running around sawing through trees and clearing debris like crazy! In the time it took me and my sister to get to go buy a new chain for the chainsaw and get back to the house, a crew had already gotten the tree off the roof, cut down the remaining bottom half of said tree, chopped up another fallen tree, and lifted the garage enough for my Dad to back the cars out. Friggin amazing! Also FEMA was around, and were doing a bang up job getting around to all parts of the area, getting out information, food, and water. Add to all those things just the neighborhood people themselves helping each other out, there was an awesome amount of progress made. Still an awfully long way to go, but wasn't a bad day's work at all.

And once again, thanks to all of you. Deeman if we need an extra pair of hands I'll be sure to let ya know, and of course the same goes for you if you need anything from us.

Sack

P.S. found the camera, left it at future Mrs. Sack's place. Will let y'all know when I get it and have some pictures up.

sack316
04-09-2008, 11:13 PM
OK, so I did a bad job of getting my pics available to anyone other than folks on my myspace list. But my Mom sent me this today, and figured I'd post it for anyone interested. Some really good ariel shots in set one, and more close up shots in set two.

Keep in mind my other thread... that this was NOT considered a federal disaster area...

http://www.wdef.com/blog/2_19_08_the_latest_on_the_prattville_al_tornado_w_ aerial_shots/02/2008

editing to add that in the picture in set one timestamped 10:41:21am you can see my parents house towards the bottom right corner. Right next to the house with the bright red roofing. You can see the tree laid over top of one end of the house, and the toppled over grage behind it. Looked much worse inside than it does in the pic, but still pretty fortunate comparing it to other homes.