Mary Wolff and her fiance, Daniel Allee, were not at their trailer on Tower Drive when it was knocked off its foundation and onto its side. They arrived shortly afterward to retrieve belongings and look for their two missing dogs, Sweetie and Little Bit.
"Oh my god! It's squished flat," Wolff said, as she surveyed the mobile home she bought in October. "Thank the lord we weren't here when it happened. Next time, I'm buying a real house."
Around the corner, Tammy O'Conner had a closer encounter with the twister. She was in her trailer when she thought she heard a train on the nearby tracks and looked out the window.
"I saw the building behind me coming apart and I just rolled my couch over and got under it," O'Conner said. "I was scared to death."
O'Conner's home was not damaged even though the storm wreaked havoc all around her. Several other buildings in the neighborhood were crumpled
After the tornado lifted back up into the sky, it traveled north a couple of miles and touched down again on the McAninch Dairy Farm on Clear Fork Road outside of Waynesburg.
Winds tore the roofs from several barns and outbuildings on the farm and uprooted large trees, including one that fell across Clear Fork Road and blocked traffic for more than an hour. Owner Larry McAninch estimated damages at more than $100,000.
Afternoon milking was under way when his son, Shane McAninch, stepped outside to see what the commotion was about.
"The hail was fairly small at first, then it got bigger, but it wasn't dark at all. It was bright out," Shane McAninch said. "I walked up between these buildings and all I can see are these sheets of metal and hay bales circling around in the air.
"The guy I'm with yells, 'It's rotating! It's rotating!' I grabbed a hold of a gate and held on. It picked me up off the ground a little," McAninch continued. "Then we watched it leave for what seemed like forever."
He described a larger funnel with a smaller one at each side winding their way north across the road before joining together and lifting back into the clouds. They would drop back to the ground a few minutes later on the way toward Broughtontown.
Mother protected children
Pink insulation hung in the trees like cotton candy as Cabrina Denny surveyed the damage to her home on Ky. 328. The twisted metal that had been her 3-year-old daughter's swingset lay in the yard with an overturned Barbie jeep nearby.
Denny was in the yard catching hail with one of her daughters when she almost caught hell. Her neighbor, Adam Adams, alerted her to the approaching tornado.
"My neighbor came up the road and said, 'There's a tornado heading your way.'"
She and her husband, Steven, and daughters, 18-month-old Lily and 3-year-old Olivia, her father-in-law and Adams quickly took cover.
"All of us ran and got in the hallway and I laid on my two girls," said Denny. "If my kids were going to blow away, I was going to blow first."
She "held on for dear life" as the winds lifted the small house that Denny's husband built 13 years ago and moved it entirely off its foundation before setting it back down again a few feet away.
While neighbors gathered around to check on the family, Denny said her older daughter's first words after the event were, "No puppy." Her recently-acquired miniature Chihuahua had not been seen.
If the tornado had hit half an hour later, Denny said she would have already been at her job at Ruckel's. Denny didn't know where she would spend the night but she had a yard full of friends and family to comfort her. She said her husband planned to stay at their home to make sure none of the tools in his nearby garage were taken.
Another place on Ky. 328 that suffered evident damage was William and Gloria Dykes' ridgetop trailer and barns.
A posse of family and friends helped carry food and belongings out of their trailer where red and blue tarp covered what had been the trailer's roof. Three of their four barns were blown over. Jennifer Grimes said her mother had been safely sheltered at Grimes' nearby home on Ky. 1781 when the storm hit.
"Every time there's a storm my mother comes and stays with me," Grimes said as she watched her family make quick work of loading up laundry baskets full of frozen food and filling cardboard boxes with clothing.
The storm's next victims were below the ridge on Broughtontown Road. Fifteen-year-old Allen Morrow was playing games when he and his sister and her boyfriend felt high winds approach. It ripped the roof off their home while they hid in the bathroom.
His mother, Geneva Morrow, was out delivering newspapers when she received the news. When she returned home to survey the damage that included the total destruction of a vacant trailer next-door, she said she hoped to salvage as much as possible and noted that a man had planned to rent the trailer next-door Friday.
"I guess he's lucky he didn't move in before that happened," she said.
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