As the sun began breaking through the clouds less than two hours after a tornado ripped through parts of Troy, it did little but illuminate the damage for those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.
A tornado warning was issued in Pike County at 6:45 a.m. Sunday, and soon after, reports of damage began to flow in from around the city of Troy.
A Double Branch Lounge bus was thrown across Highway 231 and the AutoZone on Three Notch Street was badly damaged, but the worst came from Hunter’s Mountain Mobile Estate, where at least three trailers and many cars were flipped, and many other homes were thrown off their foundations or damaged in the wind.
Two hours later, emergency services were well on their way through surveying the damage and the Red Cross was setting up aid in the office of the estate. But the damage was heavy.
There were limbs and pieces of homes scattered everywhere and through the streets. Glass, trash and debris scattered the yards.
Despite the damage, area residents only reported one person that was taken to the hospital. Most residents seemed to have evacuated before the storm came.
Candace Kyser and her husband, Paul Dunn, were not home when the tornado hit, but rushed back to the estate to check on her sister-in-law who was home alone at the time.
After making sure her sister-in-law was ok, they ventured farther into the park to their own trailer, which they found thrown onto its side and destroyed.
Although she was not upset about most of her belongings, Kyser was upset that a shirt her father wore frequently before he passed away in January would likely not be found without damage.
“(The shirt’s) in there somewhere,” she said. “But it won’t ever smell like him again.”
“We were blessed not to be here. We lost just a little bit of stuff… but it can all be replaced. I’m alive, my kids are alive, my husband’s alive, my dog’s alive. We can’t complain any.”
One home was found completely flipped on its roof, on top of another home. The residents Nicholas Wozniak and Bryce Cheatham, two Troy students, were not home, but had left their dog there, which survived.
“I just felt my heart drop,” Wozniak said. “I really just had no idea what to think or say. Just feels like a bad dream.”
Both Wozniak and his roommate were in Auburn and found out about their home when they received pictures of their home from friends checking to see if they were safe.
“Its just crazy and honestly doesn’t feel real, but we try to be thankful no one was injured,” Cheatham said.
Jaleesa Straughn, who lived across the street from Wozniak and Cheatham, had also evacuated and taken cover at the university. Although the home she lived in with her father was undamaged, she and her father were worried that they would not have a place to live when they came back.
“It was scary,” she said. “You’ve seen pictures on Facebook… You’re thinking, ‘Oh wow! That looks like my street. That looks like my car!’”
Lindsey Bass, who lived next to the home that flipped, was not as fortunate. She and her husband came home to a house thrown 10 feet to the side and off its foundation.
“Everything’s off the walls,” she said. ‘So, it tipped and then came back down.”
“(The storm) tried to do with this one what it did to the neighbors,” said Bass’ husband.
Despite the cleanup they faced, most residents seemed happy to be alive and ready to move forward.
“It’s hard to see a place we have invested a year into be torn apart like it was but it is all just stuff and we can replace that,” Cheatham said.
Red Cross representatives said that volunteers and donations would be needed, with water and clothing among the most needed items.
Donation sites and directions for how to help will soon be published on social media and distributed to media sources.
The story has been updated to include the names of the residents of the house that was completely flipped.
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